Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Demon queller Zhong Kui with demons

Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
late 17th–early 18th century
H. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm); W. 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm); D. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of Elizabeth V. Cockcroft, Bequest of Florance Waterbury, in memory of her father, John I. Waterbury, and Gift of Robert H. Ellsworth, by exchange, 2008
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 219
The tale of Zhong Kui quelling demons can be traced to the Tang dynasty (618–907) when the Emperor Minghuang (r. 712–756) was purportedly cured of an illness after dreaming about a large ghost eating demons. In this complicated groups of figures, carefully carved into the natural shape of the bamboo, Zhong Kui is shown seated on the back of a recumbent demon, while another demon offers him a cup of wine.
Private collection , London (until sale, Christie’s Hong Kong, Fine Chinese Bamboo Carvings from the Personal Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Hawthorn, December 3, 2008, lot 2345, to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extravagant Display: Chinese Art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," December 14, 2010–May 1, 2011.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Dissent in 17th-Century China: Masterpieces of Ming Loyalist Art from the Chih Lo Lou Collection," September 6, 2011–January 2, 2012.

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