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HOME : Chinese Art : Works of Art : Pair of Painted Wooden Acupuncture Models
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Pair of Painted Wooden Acupuncture Models - CK.0540
Origin: China
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 65.25" (165.7cm) high
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Wood and Paint

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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The Qing Dynasty was founded in Manchuria in 1644, following the decline of the Ming Dynasty. The rulers of the Manchu Dynasty – as it became known – were not indigenous Chinese, but were descended from the Jurchens, natives of eastern Russia and the steppe region. The formation of the Qing was preceded by a grey area known as the Later Jin period, as a minor leader named Nurhaci escalated a series of minor tribal squabbles into unification and eventually all-out war with the then rulers of the Chinese state. He moved his capital to be closer to the Mongols, with whom he formed alliances; he thus protected himself from attack on that border, exploited their superb archers, and further expanded his power base against the Ming. His son (Hung Taiji) succeeded him as Khan, and following a rather erratic start, followed on his father’s successes to crush Ming forces in a series of battles from 1640 to 1642 for the territories of Songshan and Jingzhou. He died in 1643, passing the new title of emperor to his 5- year-old son, Fulin. The last Ming emperor – Chongzhen – committed suicide as Beijing fell to rebel forces, which then fought the Qing for control. Fulin – renamed emperor Shunzhi – was placed on the throne as the Son of Heaven, although it was not until the 1680’s that all of China was united under the Manchu banner.

The Manchu Dynasty lasted for about 350 years, and only crumbled with the definitive end of imperial China and the hands of the Xinhai revolution in 1912. During this time, China became highly internalised, with notable stratification of social classes and suppression of ethnic diversity (including the forced wearing of a queue). The arts of this period are among the most ornate and studied of China’s long history, and artists were a major part of court life. They were particularly well known for their naturalistic painting, calligraphy, printing and reissuing of (censored) works by classical authors. The influence of western art – brought by traders – infiltrated various areas of Qing art in the 18th century, especially in painting and architecture (i.e. the Summer Palace). Ceramics for export – notably at the Jingdezhen porcelain kilns – became a major avenue of expression in the later periods, and were the main source of Europe’s 18th century mania for Chinoiserie.

This large pair of wooden acupunctures models would have been used by medical students during their academic training. The figures, one male and one female, are covered with tiny holes, inlaid with metal, where the students would have practiced their technique of accurately placing the acupuncture needles. Painted labels name the specific points. - (CK.0540)


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