Hardstone disc, bi
China, Ming to Qing dynasties, 17th-18th century
A bronze model of a recumbent mythical animal, holding its head up high and turned to the left. The bearded animal stretches its crossed front legs out before him. The large, exuberantly bushy tail is swept around the hindquarters. The animal has an elaborately curled mane, which issues from the head. The spiny back is defined by a series of knobs. Throughout, the bronze displays an attractive chocolate patina. Some of the highlights of the tail and the mane are coloured red.
Although the animal depicted here has the features of a horse or a dog, the general appearance and the curly mane in particular is more that of a lion. We can therefore state that represented here is a mythical animal. It was probably made originally as a brush rest for the scholar’s desk, to rest brushes for painting or calligraphy.
Provenance : The collection of Paul Bromberg, Bangkok and Hong Kong