This is a statue of Guan Yu, the martial god of the wealthy. He is always described as having a dark face, thick beard, iron hat and a coat of armour.
What makes this statue so interesting is that it was 'jazzed' up during the Cultural revolution. On August 8, 1966 the "Decision Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, otherwise known as the "Sixteen Points" was passed. "Although the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, it is still trying to use the old ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the exploiting classes...to stage a comeback....Our objective...transform education, literature and art...that do not correspond to the socialist economic base."
This is an old statue, most likely late 19C/early 20C, but it has been 'transformed' by the addition of glitter. This was probably done in the mid 1960s. The detail is still beautiful - the molding on the camphor wood and polychrome paint are all original. Chairman Lin Biao had called for the destruction of the "Four Olds"; namely, old customs, culture, habits, and ideas. Here, although vulgarizing a statue of much beauty, I do not think he succeeded.
Thank you for looking. Any questions please let me know. To add - I have seen these statues with glitter dated as 19C with no modifications.. If anyone knows if they had glitter back then I would be fascinated to know about it.
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