A very rare set of three large bronze figures of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei Late Ming Dynasty
Lot 270
A very rare set of three large bronze figures of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei
Late Ming Dynasty
£40,000 - 60,000
US$ 65,000 - 98,000

Lot Details
A very rare set of three large bronze figures of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei Late Ming Dynasty A very rare set of three large bronze figures of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei Late Ming Dynasty A very rare set of three large bronze figures of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei Late Ming Dynasty
A very rare set of three large bronze figures of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei
Late Ming Dynasty
Cast seated on a stepped pedestal, wearing identical long flowing robes with trailing ribbons and strings of beaded jewellery reaching down to the hems, the high caps secured by pins inserted from the left side to the right, with varying expressions, Zhang Fei staring ahead beneath frowning brows and a beard with thickly waving tresses, Liu Bei with three slender strands of beard and a serene downcast gaze, Guan Yu with two locks of hair beside the beard falling from around the ears, each with his hands clasped together in front of his chest holding out a plaque, each with traces of red lacquer and gilt. Each 47cm (18½in) high (3).

Footnotes

  • 明晚期 劉備、關羽、張飛銅坐像三件

    The three bronzes depict the real historical figures of Guan Yu (died 219), Zhang Fei (died 221) and Liu Bei (AD. 161-223) who were glorified in the Ming Dynasty historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, attributed to Luo Guanzhong. Their deification however, started long before this most famous piece of literature.

    According to the novel, as well as the travelling storytellers that came before it, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Liu Bei gathered in a peach garden to swear an oath as brothers. Together they vowed to restore the ailing Han dynasty to order and end the rebellions that had plagued it. As the political chaoes continued however, the empire broke into three kingdoms, lending the famous novel its name.

    These three men became a symbol of fraternal loyalty as they valiantly fought together to restore the empire. They were worshipped thereafter to bless the codes of brotherhood and righteousness. To this day it is common to see images of Guan Yu in offices to emphasise one's staunch loyalty to business partners.
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    Auction Administration - Chinese Works of Art
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