Seated on a woven mat, the Chinese man wears white robes and holds a long-stemmed lotus flower in his right hand. He is a mud man figurine, originally designed over 1000 years ago to decorate the landscape bonsai called Pen'Jing. They were created by hand from clay mud, thus earning their name. In the intervening centuries, mud men (and rarely mud women) came to be used to decorate fish tanks and planters. While small ones are still used that way, larger ones like this one are usually tabletop décor, although it could certainly be used in a large planter.
This mud man was made at the Shiwan Artistic Ceramic Factory, established in 1952 in Guangdong Province in South China. This factory has been given the National Gold Medal of China three consecutive times. Their foil label is still intact on the bottom.
This handsome mud man weighs about 2 pounds. He is 5 1/2 inches tall, with a base 7 1/2 inches wide and 5 1/2 inches front to back. The lotus flower he is holding is one of the most significant flowers in Chinese culture. Because the flower rises from the mud and blooms in exquisite beauty, it symbolizes purity of both the heart and mind.
This mud man is in superb condition, with no damage and virtually no wear. It's a beautiful figurine to add to a collection or begin one and also mixes well with other Asian artworks.