This is an exceptionally well carved soapstone carving and is a very early piece. This is a museum quality carving as even one of the fingernails are carved to accentuate it (the one holding the bowl). Also as pictures indicate his ears are also exaggerated in that they are very long. Some area of the carving is carved very thin indicating great skill by this carver.
The height is a little over 6 l/2 inches tall, the base is about 3 by 3 l/2 inches. There appear to be some sort of food or herbs inside the bowl. His face is well carved with his facial express, eye, nose, mouth well executed. Even the ribbon holding his hat is well done. Even his shoes are carved to indicate the shoes. Also please look at the carving of the hat and the edge of the hat, this took a skilled carver to do this delicate carving.
This carving is signed but I am not able to translate the writing. I believe the writing is Chinese. If anyone can translate I would appreciate hearing from you.
This carving does have some problems and the price reflects this. 1) a portion of his hat has problems in three areas (missing portion - probably due to the thinness of the hat). 2) near the left foot, under the back of his robe there is a minor flake, and 3) Also, near his left food the base of the hardstone is not square like the other three areas. However, this is polished and smooth so I would guess that it is original to the piece and the artist just smooth it out.
Any questions, please email me.