Toba on his mule in bronze, CHINA, late 19th century

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Sculpture, incense burner representing "Toba on his mule" in bronze, CHINA, probably late 19th century
Ancient incense burner, since Toba was probably removable with a hole in the back, which allowed the mule's belly to be used as an incense receptacle, since welded.
According to legend, a Chinese official and poet nicknamed Toba in Japan (Su Shi in Chinese, 1036-1101), who lived under the Song in the service of the Shenzong and Zhezong emperors, was unjustly banished by the latter following court intrigues. He then went into exile on the back of a mule, wearing a woven wicker headdress, with a book of his poetry and a ruyi sceptre in his hand, symbols of his former status as an imperial official.
Paradoxically absent or almost absent from Chinese art, it is in Japanese art that this figure of the intellectual and free-thinking artist has been most illustrated, on sword guards (Tsuba) from the 16th and 17th centuries, but especially afterwards, at the end of the Edo era and during the Meiji era, or even afterwards, as a model for large decorative figures in bronze or cloisonné.
Bronze placed on a marble mosaic pedestal.
20ht x 15L. Piedestal 13L x 8P.
A rear foot of the horse is dislocated but re-locates and fits perfectly in its place, almost invisible.
Condition : ***
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1. Excellent
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