VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Figure of Xiwangmu or Xian –shen (?)
MT-DW-6
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This is a figure of the women who stands on a four-legged base. The goodness wears a bijia garment - a long sleeveless jacket that drapes all the way below the knees. The bijia creates a visual impression of slenderness. The sleeves look as if they were moved by the wind. On her head there is a high buckled hairstyle rounded by a crown with a Phoenix above the forehead. She holds a plate with a design of small mountains in her hands.

History of the Object
Xiwangmu – "the Queen Mother of the West" known as a great goodness who lives in a tower of nephrite in the legendary Kunlun mountains. In the beginning her appearance was described as demonic: she had a leopard’s tail, a tiger’s jaw and witch’s hair. Over the course of time her outer image has changed. Chinese art showed her as a lady, half as a delicate girl and half as a mature woman. It was said that, during the meetings of Xiwangmu with emperors of China, she always brought beautiful pieces of white nephrite. In later stories, the nephrite was changed into a peach. Once, she had a husband – Dongwanggong – a king of the East. Xiwangmu was very often presented with a phoenix, the image of which is also seen in the crown of the “Torun figure”. The stylistic features of the “Torun sculpture” indicate half of 13th century as a time of its creation. Unfortunately, we don’t know a concrete place of this figure destination. It is only known that she was one part of a pair of sculptures – the other identified as an image of Confucius.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Bronze, polychrome, 
Measurements
30,6x9,7x9cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 13th century ~ AD 13th century 
Creation date
13th Century; Yuan Dynasty; middle of XIII Century 
Function
Religious 
Acquisition
This object derives from a large collection of the famous Polish collector, Tadeusz Wierzejski (1892 – 1974) who was a historian of art and an antiquarian. Wierzejski handed down this sculpture to the Museum in 1966. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
District Museum, Torun 
Museum
District Museum, Torun 
Credit line
 

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