Late Qing Dynasty Shiwan Dancers
Consigned to Auction by a San Francisco Family
These late Qing Dynasty Shiwan Dancers are in every way extraordinary. Their size is prominent and striking standing at a height of 29in. (74cm). The artisans who created these showed great mastery by capturing the emotional expressions on each dancers face, as well as suggesting the kinetic motion of the dancers as well.
And they have a little story, as most visually stunning antiques do.
Shiwan Dancers Owned by "Lucky Baldwin's" Daughter?
You can read all about Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin here. Financially he was one of the great early California Entrepreneurs, his personal life, well that is a more complex subject.
"Lucky" had three children, the youngest's, a daughter was named Rozella Robinson Baldwin. At some point as she grew into young womanhood full of spirt and adventure, she fell in love. The man of her affection was someone the family did not approve of, so they sent her travelling to China; hoping that would temper her passion and independent temperament.
According to family lore Rozella while travelling in China during the first decade of the 1900's acquired these Shiwan Dancers as well as many other items of interest to her.
These Shiwan Figures are Important
Some form of pottery has been made in the Shiwanzhen Subdistrict of the Guangdong Province since 5,000BC. It was during the late Ming Dynasty though that production increased to the extent that this district is now known as the "Capital of Ceramics" in Southern China.
Most of what we see today from this area are ceramics, colloquially known as "Mud Men." But these statuesque and colorful dancers are superior in every way to the dime store, garden variety, small village figures that can be found in almost every flea-market or antique mall.
The pair of Shiwan Dancers we are offering up for your consideration in our May 21, 2023 auction are either late Qing or very early Republic Period ceramics of the highest quality, which are rare given their size and appealing for their dramatic beauty.
Fine Estate, Inc. is a San Francisco Bay Area Company offering auction and consignment services.