Chinese Ceramic of Lady with Flowers & Fan

Chinese Ceramic of Lady with Flowers & Fan.

PRESENTING A LOVELY Chinese Ceramic of Lady with Flowers & Fan.

This porcelain Statue has been hand-painted and hand-gilded.

It depicts a Lady/Chinese Courtesan reclining on a seat, in period costume, holding a fan and surrounded by flowers..

The Japanese Geisha and the Chinese Courtesan

Many know about the Japanese geisha but this tradition, and even its name, came from China. While the geisha tradition continues in Japan, the remarkable Chinese courtesan culture has passed into history. Despite the claims of Mao Zedong to have eliminated prostitution, only the culture was eliminated.  Today in China what are left are jinu, prostitutes who sell only their bodies, perhaps not even a smile.

The Courtesan’s Arts

Woodblock print of a courtesan

getting ready to paint

Courtesans were trained in the four major refined arts – music, painting, calligraphy, poetry – the same pursued by scholar gentlemen and high-society ladies.

In music, they played the zheng (sixteen stringed zither), the pipa (four stringed lute) the qin (seven stringed zither), and sang operatic arias as well as tunes from narrative music. Some prostitutes also specialized in magic and gymnastics. In the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E. –A.D. 220), a few became famous for walking a tight rope and performing acrobatics such as somersaulting or hanging upside down. Not only was there no net, sharp swords were pointed toward them, ensuring their death should they fall.

A Turquoise Pavilion (Prostitution House)

named Welcoming Spring in

Harbin, China, early Republic

For all prostitutes, however accomplished in the arts, flirting was the most basic and necessary training. They were required to walk in small, elegant steps called “shredded golden lotus steps;” to flick their eyes dreamily or stare deeply into the customer’s; to flash flirtatious smiles – revealing or hiding their teeth. Thrusting the body forward to lure customers was referred to euphemistically as “offering your body to preach the Dharma (Buddhist law).”  Mirrors were provided for practicing hair and makeup as well as mastering facial expressions: delighted, surprised, loving, tender, shy, even pitiable, or forlorn. However, all these skills ultimately led to an enchanted customer eager for the bedchamber.


The figure is in a seated pose, with bangles and holding a fan. She is wearing a period costume with a flowing robe, with sashes and necklace decorations. Her hair is set with 2 rolled ponytails creating a large bow on top of her head.

We would be of the opinion that this piece is possibly mid 20th Century..


Chinese Ceramic of Lady with Flowers & Fan.

Provenance: Part of a Private Collection from Dallas, TX.

Dimensions:  12″ Tall,  9″ Wide and 4″ Deep

Condition: Mint.

Price Now: $80

Chinese Ceramic of Lady with Flowers & Fan

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