PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK PRIVATE COLLECTOR
The facial features, especially the eyes and nose, of this figure, as well as the wood stand, are closely related to a Kangxi period figure sold at Christie's New York, 24th March 2011, lot 1720.
Two other glazed biscuit Daoist deities portraying the civilian and military gods of wealth supported on similar bases, from the collection of John D. Rockefeller Jr., and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are illustrated in Suzanne G. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, col. pl. 33, and p. 228, no. 222 respectively.
Liu Hai is venerated as a god of wealth because his companion toad is particularly attracted to gold. If the toad ever strayed, Liu Hai could lure him out of hiding by using a string of coins. Since ancient Chinese coins had a hole in the middle and Liu Hai would thread them together through the hole, he is also venerated as the patron saint of needle makers.
In the present lot, Liu Hai is portrayed holding a peach, thereby not only bestowing wealth, but also longevity.
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