EXQUISITE 陳楠 Chen Nan Sennin Chinese Wood Carved Qing early 19th Century or OLDER
Carved wood Chennan Sennin okimono possibly 18th century
This is an exquisitely carved representation of an ascetic known in both Chinese and Japanese cultures as Chennan Sennin 陳楠 (from British Museum article).
This ascetic was known to control a dragon that he keeps in his alms bowl and can summon at any time.
In this beautiful carved piece, Chennan Sennin has summoned the dragon and is depicted grimacing as the dragon appears to have climbed onto his back and sunk it’s teeth into the ascetic’s skull. This humorous take on the myth appears to show the dragon controlling the ascetic rather than the other way round.
The amount of detail on both the dragon and ascetic is amazing with both having what appears to be tiny semi precious stone inset eyes (polished agate?).
This wood ‘okimono’ has a two character signature inlaid on the underside of the base: Eis-Sen.
The only Eis-sen that I have identified was Keisai Eisen (渓斎 英泉, 1790–1848) who was a woodblock printer known to carve his own printing blocks.
I am unable to locate any other SIGNED wood okimono of this size, period and quality.
Even the base has some wonderful carved flowers as well as the inlaid two letter maker’s mark.
Some dealers are selling UNSIGNED but similar size, quality and period wood okimono for up to £8,000 (full details available on request)..
This absolutely stunning piece stands just under 10 inches in height (25cm) with the integral base / 7 inches just the figure.
This remarkable and very attractive work of art has a deep rich chocolate brown colour (looks MUCH better than the photographs) and has some age related stress cracks but is otherwise in very good condition.