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Charll shared this beautiful Xianfeng (1851-1861) dated bottle depicting NeZha combating the Dragon King amongst a rolling sea of blue and eight mythical sea creatures.


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NeZha Combating the Dragon

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Author Topic: NeZha Combating the Dragon  (Read 2815 times)
rpfstoneman
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« on: September 04, 2021, 08:40:37 pm »

All, I finally have gotten around to completing the cataloging of the bottle at the start of this thread.  Thanks to Richard's initial help, and a more recent Forum discussion with a group of you, it spurred me to go back and expand my write-up on this bottle.  The crispness in the design is what one might expect to see in a soft paste cobalt blue porcelain, but this is with all it's fine crisp detail is a hard-paste blue and white example from the 3rd quarter of the 19th century. 

Blue & White Hard-Paste Porcelain Snuff Bottle:
Cylindrical shape cobalt blue porcelain bottle with straight throat and wide mouth.  Design appears to depict NeZha combating the Dragon King or one of the sons amongst a rolling sea of blue and eight mythical sea creatures.  Rich varying tones of light and dark cobalt blue in high detail that shows NeZha with his magical ring in hand ridding the back of a confronting dragon.  Pendant trefoiled neck of a single dot below each trefoil with a single dot between indicating a period of Xianfeng (1851-1861) or later.  Dragon scales are individually painted (i.e., not cross-hatched) which is a rarity in such late 19th century bottles.  Thin walled, translucent, coil ring construction with glazed interior.  Raised unglazed foot with what looks to be a well-placed, ground-off, 4-character Xianfeng cobalt blue mark.  Height is just under 3 inches or 7.5 cm without stopper.

Period: ca 1851-1861 Xianfeng mark and period, possibly imperial.


Condition: Other than ground-off reign mark, near pristine.  Though measured surface abrasion and scuffing of the main body from use.   No stopper or spoon at purchase.

Provenance:  Unknown

The Story Behind the Scene:  Like all boys, NeZha was born from his mother’s womb.  That, however, is where NeZha similarity to most boys’ end.

While not known to many in the West, for Chinese, NeZha has been a household name from mythology to techno dances, popular movies to classical novels such as Investiture of the Gods and Journey to the West.  According to legend, it all began 3,000-4,000 years ago, during the Shang Dynasty in northeastern China.  A military commander, Li Jing, anxiously awaiting the birth of his third child.  And he was anxious for good reason, for his wife’s pregnancy had lasted three years and six months.

The night before going into labor, his wife, Lady Yin, dreamt she saw a Daoist immortal sweeping his magical whisk across her belly.  He asked to accept the child being conferred upon her, and to call him “NeZha”.
The next day, Lady Yin gave birth to a large, round ball of flesh – basically a meatball.  Shocked and disappointed, her husband suspected the anomaly to be demonic and drew his sword.  He proceeded to strike the fleshy mass, piecing the surface and revealing, to a amazement, a grown, vivacious child – NeZha.
 
Shortly after, a Daoist immortal arrived and offered to take the boy as is disciple.  Both parents consented, with the Daoist then bestowing NeZha with a magic instrument – the Cosmic Wheel (qian kun lun).

NeZha Enrages an Evil Dragon

The extent of NeZha’s extraordinary powers would soon be revealed.  One hot day, NeZha, eager to cool off, went bathing in a nearby sea.  Still unaware of the power that his magical instrument possessed, he took his Cosmic Wheel – the shape of a medium hula-hoop but heavier than any mortal could lift – and swished it around, only to end up causing massive tremors deep in the waters below.

The tremors caused by NeZha shook the underwater palace of the Dragon King of the East Sea.  The enraged Dragon King ordered on of his scouts to find out who or what was the causing the chaos.

Upon discovering NeZha, a mere boy, to be the culprit of the seaside antics, the scout expected to kill him with ease.  With one blow of his Cosmic Wheel, though, NeZha killed the scout.  Learning of this, the Dragon King sent his favorite son to deal with NeZha.  NeZha killed him as well.

Overcome with rage, the Dragon King vowed to report NeZha’s crimes to the Jade Emperor – supreme ruler of the heavens and mortal realms.  NeZha, however, dashed to the gates of the Jade Emperor’s palace and arrived there before the Dragon King.  Using in invisibility charms, he caught the Dragon King by surprise and served him a round of blows before he could see the Jade Emperor. 

Perhaps what has made NeZha so endearing, his unlikely powers aside, is the ebullient, playful persona of this age-defying folk hero.  Ultimately NeZha, and figures like him, invite us to partake in a world of wonder, a world where the horizons of human possibility are stretched, always for the better.
(Source:  https://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/explore/view/article/e/1Puo-xmwOG8/ne-zha-child-deity-of-chinese-mythology.html , February 19, 2014)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 11:57:36 am by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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