Zhong Kui was a bright scholar who was denied top honors by the emperor because he was disfigured and homely. Discouraged after a lifetime of study and honors, he committed suicide against the palace gates. His good friend Du Ping had him ceremoniously buried. In the afterlife he was judged to have committed a grave sin due to his suicide, but was also seen as having great potential. He was made ruler of ghosts, his job being to reign in evil and unruly phantoms. Here we see an overlay snuff bottle skillfully carved depicting Zhong Kui in repose with some ghosts on one side, and Zhong Kui with his sister and subservient demons on the other. Zhong Kui bequeathed his sister to marriage to his kind friend who honored him with a proper burial. The colors are lovely, deep ruby and turquoise to blue. A brass and carnelian top with a well carved bone spoon complete the package. Post 1940, 20th century, but crafted like an imperial antique. Exceptional.
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