Painted clay figure of a European merchant by Amoy Chinqua
Signed and dated 1719, China
Height of figure: 29.5 cm , 11.6 inches
Figure with stand: 33 cm, 13 inches
It is likely that this is a portrait of a merchant employed by the East India Company. Beneath an elaborately detailed campaign wig, with knotted ends (suitable for active rather than formal wear), his painted clay face is finely sculpted – with great realism. Although we cannot be certain who is represented, the figure bears some striking resemblance to a painting in the National Maritime Museum (1711, by P. Trampon), of Robert Knox (1641 – 1720), sea-captain, merchant and write.