Subject:Re: Help Understanding Story of Sculpture and Description of Clothing
Posted By: George Ingraham Mon, Feb 15, 2021
Thank you Peter..
I found who Budai (Hotei/Pu Tai) is and made the connection between what is going on with this sculpture..
Budai's tradition and belief about the handing out of sweets as being symbolic for the notion that the more you give, the more you receive.
How his bag represents and was used to gather up the problems all people encounter in life. He would gather them up as he moved from town to town. Believing that instead of clinging to them you should distance yourself from a problem by putting it down and laugh at it, because whether you laugh or cry the problem is not going to change. Thus being known as the laughing Buddha.
I am still trying to be sure about who and what profession the figure is receiving what looks like an especially nicely wrapped box of candy with a tassel attached.
I have narrowed it down to two possibilities.
He is either a soldier opera figure with a prop shield strapped to his back. Or he is an actual soldier, and it is still a shield strapped to his back. The foot ware either hanfu opera shoes, or actual military boots.
What looks like possible protective gear over his shoulders seems more likely a ceremonial collar or piling. It does not look like something that would offer real battle protection compared to other practical battle body armor/plates. His straw hat just adds to my confusion between the two possibilities.
Shiwan potters were very famous for creating opera figurines, especially their figural roof tiles. Virtually all their figural roof tile figural scenes were influenced by Chinese opera, as well as a great many other figural sculptures.
So for the moment I am leaning towards him being a soldier opera figure with a prop shield strapped to the back of his costume.
There is more symbolic meaning to this sculpture as well that I will not bore you with, not to mention a detailed description of the various Shiwan glazes.
What do you or others following along think about the two possibilities for that figure? They are the only possibilities I have can up with so far.