17th C; camphor, Hunan Province. Important relic showing aperture behind back. Tallest figure 9″.
The figures represent members from an elite family: A standing general (judging from high hairdo) and two seated high officials (one wearing an official rank-plate on the chest). They are figures for ancestral worship. The plugged aperture in each one’s back is where wishes from family are stored. It is said to open the aperture out of curiosity brings bad luck! The figures show deterioration of colored clay covering, an important patina of old age. It is quite rare to find such old figures with plugged apertures today.