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 Post subject: Art of the Mud Man - by Myron Reddings
PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 2:31 pm 
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This thread is for discussing Myron Reddings' article, "Art of the Mud Man"
http://www.artofbonsai.org/feature_articles/mudman.php


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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 6:01 pm 
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Myron
Thanks for the informative article on "mudmen". Not my favorite term for them. but most people know what the reference is to.

My wife and I have a collection, some fairly old. The appear very similar to your group thats ca. 1900. She inherited most of them from her grandmother who was an Asian artifact collector.

Theres a store in my town that sells a great variety of Chinese artifacts. Among them are sets of 5 or more made for collectors, and quite expensive. They won't sell individual pieces from the sets, unless one of the set is broken. My wife found one for me from a broken set that cost about $40. The link is to a picture of it. It's supposed to be an image of Tamo, a teacher from around 500 AD. ( I deleted the link because it isn't available to all. I downloaded the image to this forum. Check my next post. mp)

I like to use the figurines in display, and don't care if some of the traditionalists are offended. Their problem, not mine.
Again, thanks for the article.
Mike


Last edited by Mike Page on Sun May 21, 2006 12:51 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 11:09 pm 
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Location: Michigan USA
Mike,
I have noticed your use of mudmen in your displays and often wondered about them. You mentioned that "mudmen" is not your favorite term for these figurines, what term do you prefer?

Also Mike, the link you posted will only show the picture to BT members, those who are not members can not view it. Maybe using the attachment feature here would allow it to be seen by all readers.

Myron,
I found this article very informative and interesting, thank you for allowing it to be posted here.


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 Post subject: Image
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 12:18 am 
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I'll try to post the image I was referring to.
Regarding "mudmen", it sometimes seems to me the term is used in a derogatory manner. Maybe I'm wrong about that.
Mike


Attachments:
mud_2.jpg [62.72 KiB]
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 3:46 pm 
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I'm attaching an image of an old boxwood that I consider to be a little more penjing than bonsai. I like to use a figurine as part of this display. This "mudman" is not old.
The pot is Tokoname and measures 28 1/2 inches long. The "feet" are from China.
Mike


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boxpen05_06resize.jpg [61.96 KiB]
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 4:47 pm 
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Myron
Here's a "group portrait" of the mudmen my wife inherited from her grandmother. We were lucky that no one else in the family had any interest in Chinese artifacts. We got these plus several pieces of old Chinese furniture and other odds and ends.
These pieces have no "made in", or country of origin on the bottom. There is some minor damage to some of them. I guess thats to be expected after all these years. The tallest is about 10 1/2 inches.
Mike


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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 12:04 am 
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As I became more interested in the history of Chinese ink painting and the theory behind it, one of the things I came to enjoy is the way these artists reduced the representation of nature to it's bare essence.

They rendered a lively and humorous representation of animals and humans alike, using just a few lines. I often look at these drawings and try to copy them on a piece of paper, and I never cease to admire the ingenuity of capturing a certain mood in them.

They are basically the ancestors of today's caricatures. And these mudmen are three-dimensional representations of those ancient drawings. I really enjoy watching their facial expressions and the simple and clear forms representing a human body.

So, I don't really look at them in the context of a bonsai. In fact, I have an easier time looking at them standing on their own. I've seen many displays where I enjoyed bonsai with figurines. But I believe that it's not an easy task to achieve something that is more than just cute.

I guess it's like popular music. People listen to it, and enjoy it. Nothing wrong with having some fun.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 8:50 pm 
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Mike Page wrote:
Myron
Here's a "group portrait" of the mudmen my wife inherited from her grandmother. We were lucky that no one else in the family had any interest in Chinese artifacts. We got these plus several pieces of old Chinese furniture and other odds and ends.
These pieces have no "made in", or country of origin on the bottom. There is some minor damage to some of them. I guess thats to be expected after all these years. The tallest is about 10 1/2 inches.[/i]Mike


Hi Mike,
That's a very nice collection of old mud figures you have, the tallest one with the gourd and staff is a representation of old Lieh Tieh Kuai or iron crutch li, according to Chinese mythology he was a magic healer , who later in his life became an immortal who magically reduced himself to just inches tall to sleep inside the gourd at night for protection, he is a favored house god of the infirmed.

For lack of a better descriptive term, mud figures being the modern vernacular were originally called san xai in the ages past, some folks at the turn of the last century created a myth that these figures were made exclusively from the clay found on the banks of Yantze and Pearl rivers of Southern China, hence mud man or mud figure.... in actuality they were made from clays mined from most every Province in China by local village co-ops, it was a local family trade for thousands of years prior to the factory reproductions after 1953. I am glad you enjoyed the article.
Thanks,
Myron


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 8:59 pm 
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Will Heath wrote:
Myron,
I found this article very informative and interesting, thank you for allowing it to be posted here.

Thank you Will, it is my pleasure to share this article on this site, thank you for your kind comments,
Myron


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 9:14 pm 
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Attila Soos wrote:
, I don't really look at them in the context of a bonsai. In fact, I have an easier time looking at them standing on their own. I've seen many displays where I enjoyed bonsai with figurines. But I believe that it's not an easy task to achieve something that is more than just cute.

Hi Attila,
I agree with your assessment of these figures, some of these figures do have simplistic caricature like profiles and can be difficult to display with bonsai and get the composition right. I prefer to display them on a daiza as an accent to the composition much like a viewing stone or an accent plant as a compliment, in my opinion they don't really belong in a pot with a bonsai, though the mud figure Mike Page has standing in his boxwood Penjing works very well for me and is a very plausible scene, as if in the ages past an old venerable octogenarian was seen contemplating in the Chinese highlands where the ancient boxwood prospered....but mud figures, however one chooses to view them, are an acquired taste I believe.
Thanks,
Myron


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 11:29 am 
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Myron, thank you so much for the lovely article. I was the contest coordinator over at Bonsai Talk where the article was originally published. It was wonderful to have the quality articles submitted that we did.
Your enjoyment and use of the Mudmen adds a great deal to the art of bonsai, and many others share your interest.
Joanie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:10 am 
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Hi Joanie,
I would like to thank you and Matt for providing an opportunity to write the article, not only for myself but for all contestants who were able to share their viewpoints and discuss their ideals in that manner, your work and Matt's editorial efforts at bonsaiTalk is greatly appreciated, thank you both for allowing such an opportunity to all involved.
And of course, equal gratitude to the good folks here at AoB for republishing the mud man article to the world on this excellent web site, thanks for a job well done to Paul Stokes.
Sincerely,
Myron Redding.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:53 am 
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I really don't think that is the famous immortal "Iron Crutch Li". Iron crutch started out life as a young, beautiful and upright man, very proud and vein. Then one night trusting his student to awaken him from a meditation he became disfigured and was left with only one viable leg. The student was supposed to wait and awaken the master, unfortuanately the student left and the master was unable to reach his own body in time and was forced to use an old discarded corpse from a near by grave yard. All of the images of the Immortal Li are of a very ugly and twisted man with an obvious crutch supporting a useless leg. A quick Google search of " The 8 Great Immortals" will get you some quick info and images of Iron Crutch Li, also there are some books available on the subject of Chinese immortals by authors such as Eva Wong for further reference.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:42 am 
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Here is a good and quick link to The 8 Great Immortals.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/journals/jras/1916-21.htm


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:34 pm 
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Wesley, that's a great link. Thanks!
Mike
edit: Here's a link to a figurine of Iron Crutch Li
http://www.trocadero.com/ICHIBAN/items/ ... 90946.html


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