Mike Page wrote:
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
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.