mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Of English gentlemen and Chinese mudmen

To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, the affair between Hatsu Akiko and Edwardian/ Meiji will live as one of the prettiest love stories in all literature. Have just finished her Chinese Bird, one in the 'Gorgeous England' series. How she does love her English aristocrats and country houses and hobble skirted ladies, and how charming they look through her 'never been to England can't stand to travel' lens. I mean that without irony. If a period and an artist were made for each other, it's those two. Edwardian England had its own unpleasant traits, but Hatsu-sensei's kind eye doesn't see them. And her gardens are softly green and her men are gentlemen and her women are ladies and love conquers all, just as it should. (And here are some useful Parker quotes at need.

We had these little ceramic figures from China when I was growing up. I had no idea what they were called or where they came from or why my mother had them in the first place. Googling around I discover they're called, alas, mud men. I remember them from my childhood, in the '50's, so it's possible that these are vintage ones that may possibly date from the '30's. (There'd be no way my parents could have got them in the 40's; for all I know, they belonged to my grandparents, like a lot of the Chinese flotsam that came from the old house. there's a cheap bronze bowl that I keep bracelets in: I only noticed today that it has dragons incised around the edges.)

Evidently there's no common authority on mud figures, and the articles' information is contradictory. Vintage figures have CHINA stamped on the base; but so do recent ones. Vintage figures are hollow, as are most of mine- but so are modern ones. And so on. However mine don't look much like the majority of the figures I've found online, and do look rather like this late 19th century one, so maybe...
Tags: art, china, hatsu_akiko, rl

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