We are offering here a fine example of Chinese "folk" carving, a carpenter's ink marker line carved as a dragon with a pearl in its mouth. It was collected as a sculptural object rather than practical tool, and displays as either!
"Of the three main tools, ink marker, hatchet and ruler, of every Chinese carpenter -- the ink marker, or modou, is perhaps the most special and interesting. It embodies the skill of these Chinese craftsmen like no other tool can. The Modou, however, is more than just a tool: it is sacred to Chinese carpenters and also a work of art and philosophy in itself." Bai Yi, translation by Pavel Toropov.
This tool was made by the apprentice as his "thesis" and graduation and embodied all that was "right" and "straight" about his life, work and art.
Size approx 9 1/2" long, 5 1/2 wide to the tip of the handle, 4" high. The (cotton?) line on the reel is probably vintage, not antique.
A tiny metal sleeve is loose. The carving seems to be in good antique condition. Some minor rubbing but we can spot no repair or damage other than what is visible in the photos.
Texas buyers please note that sales tax will be collected either by Ruby Lane or by us.
Antique Chinese Carved Modou Carpenter's Ink Marker