A small figure of Jhonghizhuan, the Daoist Immortal, late Ming/early Qing, mid 17th Century.

The figure is shown wearing turquoise robes, carrying a fan and standing on a purple-glazed fragment, supported on a silver-gilt triangular base. It was originally one of a pair and once stood within a purple-glazed bowl, forming what is known as a Tantalus cup. The 1690 Deed of Gift, an enormous bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter, records: “Two small turky colour figures standing upon pedistalls garnisht”, so the figures had been removed from the bowls and mounted on the pedestals before they came to Burghley. ‘Turky’ was the rather charming version of the word turquoise, in use in the 17th Century. The figure is associated with CER0506.


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