A Chinese polychrome 'The mussel and the heron' group, 18th/19th C.



H 19,5 - L 17,5 cm

Condition: (UV-checked)
- With small losses to the beard and to one finger, otherwise in good condition with minor baking flaws.

Ref.: E. D. EDWARDS in “THE DRAGON BOOK“, published in London, 1938:
A mussel was lying on the riverbank sunning itself when a heron came by and pecked at it. The mussel closed its shell, nipping the bird’s beak, whereupon the bird said: “If you don’t let me go to-day or to-morrow there will be a dead mussel.” The mussel replied: “If I don’t open to-day or to-morrow, there will be a dead heron.” Just then a fisherman came along and seized them both.”

It is not uncommon to see the heron replaced by a duck in depictions of this story.