A bronze figure of Zhenwu
Late Ming dynasty
Height: 6 3/8 in, 16.2 cm
Seated on an integral rockwork plinth, the Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven rests his hands on his knees. He wears armour under his robes, and a dragon in relief decorates the breastplate; his bare feet protrude from the hems. Zhenwu’s incised hair is long and unbound, and falls in a point down his back. He has a moustache and beard, and his features bear a serene expression. The head of a tortoise, entwined with a snake, emerges between his feet. The mellow bronze bears the remains of gilt lacquer.
See the essay on Zhenwu in Little with Eichman, Taoism and the Arts of China, pp. 291–2, and note no. 104, p. 295, a large figure in a similar pose in the collection of the British Museum.
A similar example is illustrated in China: Cultuur Vroeger en Nu, no. 190, p. 131.