A rare pair of lacquered bronze figures of kneeling boys,
17th century, Ming dynasty, China
Height: 17.2 cm, 6.7 inches
Superbly cast, each modelled kneeling on one knee with both arms raised and extended holding one large cymbal, lavishly attired in colourful full length robes, cinched at the waist, the round head with animated expression and smiling mouth open below the fleshy cheeks, the wide arching brows framing the slender eyes, and below the hair fastened into three evenly spaced buns of knotted hair, resting on a square waisted plinth decorated with cloisonné enamels with stylized florets and confronting dragons against a turquoise ground terminating in a shaped apron and ruyi bracket feet.
These boys appear to be unique. The majority of bronze lacquered figures tend to be devotional items of a religious nature with very few secular examples.
Twin boys are highly auspicious in Chinese art conveying the wish for many sons and grandsons. The boys are in a deferential kneeling pose and outstretched arms: each holding a large cymbal comprise a symbolic musical offering.