Coloured terracotta figures. Artistic specimen of Japan.


Plate I

figures, terracotta, coloured, specimen, Japan, George Ashdown Audsley
Group of coloured figures modelled in terracotta.

Group of terracotta figures of a traveller with a child

by George Ashdown Audsley

The Group modelled in terra-cotta which forms the subject of the accompanying Plate is unquestionably the finest work of its class, of Japanese origin, we have met with. In every respect, as a specimen of artistic modelling and technical handling it is a masterpiece.

It is executed in a deep red terra-cotta which is left in its natural colour and unglazed in the faces and hands of the the garments are richly enamelled with refined low-toned tints, which, by their accidental running in the furnace, have produced charming effects of broken colour. The ornaments upon the garments are for the most part stamped and applied. The chromolithograph is so truthful in all respects that a description of the colouring and ornamentation would be superfluous.

The chief figure appears to be that of a wealthy pilgrim or nomadic chief, but his nationality is somewhat uncertain. We are disposed from the Mongolian type of his face and the character of his costume to believe that he represents an inhabitant of some district of Northern China. Certain details of his dress are rather Japanese than Chinese, but this would naturally arise from the modeller being of the former nationality. The general air of dignity imparted to this figure and the skilful rendering of the countenance place this work very high in the scale of art.

The figure of the boy carrying a water gourd, a wallet, and a small bag containing a drinking vessel is also beautifully modelled and enriched with coloured enamels. The stand is of the same material as the figures.

Modern workmanship. Height of principal figure including stand 18 inches. In the possession of Monsieur S. Bing, of Paris.

Source: The ornamental arts of Japan by George Ashdown Audsley. Lithographer: W. Greve. Printer: Low Sampson Marston, Searle & Rivington. Imprimerie Lemercier et cie. Plates published by Sampson, Low & Co. Paris, and W. Greve, Berlin 1882.

red, sun, Japan, Mon, Nisshōki, Hinomaru

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