East Asia, China, Ming Dynasty, ca. 1368 to 1644 CE. A remarkable royal marriage assembly comprised of thirteen sculpted pieces, all embellished with a lustrous glaze in hues of gamboge, emerald, orange, peach, grey, brown, yellow, and black. Central to the set, the elegant bride and groom both stand atop hexagonal plinths with their hands held together underneath the long flared sleeves of their marriage garments. The bride wears an intricate headdress and a floor-length robe as she carries a rectangular object. Flanked by two pierced ears, her round visage displays slender eyes, arched brows, a flat nose with incised nostrils, and petite lips. A small object inside the bride's head allows her to make a rattling sound. Alternatively, the groom wears a green tunic over a golden-hued robe and an orange hat as he carries a large bowl angled outwards. His naturalistic face features narrowed eyes, a straight brow, a round nose, and a small mouth enveloped by a Fu Manchu moustache and a goatee. Size of largest: 5.25" W x 19.125" H (13.3 cm x 48.6 cm)
The newlyweds are accompanied by a horse, who is heavily adorned with a tasseled saddle blanket, a saddle, and bell-lined reins as it stands on all fours atop a rectangular plinth. The noble steed sports a centrally-parted mane above a long snout with clearly delineated nostrils and huge eyes. The five remaining figures are all male and wear long green robes with yellow or grey sleeve hems, grey belts, and conical, flat-topped headdresses. Four of the figures are sedan chair carriers and stand holding one hand to their chests. The remaining male is an announcer and holds a rattle. Several props are also part of the set, including a large sedan chair, two dowry chests filled with rattling objects, and a dining table set with a footed vessel known as a ding, a vase, and a fish on a platter.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-Hong Kong Gallery, China, acquired in 1980s
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All have collection labels on bottoms. Top of bride's headdress restored from new material. Ding missing part of one foot. A few small repairs to bases of dowry chests and sedan chair carriers with restoration over break lines. Legs of table reattached. Repair to ears of one sedan carrier, one side of fish's tail, hat of sedan carrier, and ear of horse with restoration over break lines. Expected surface wear with a few minor nicks/chips and abrasions, all commensurate with age. Otherwise, excellent with impressive remaining pigments.