Manju of Chinese warrior Liu Bei - Genshu

circa 1860

Chinese warrior Manju
Manju of Chinese warrior Liu Bei

A solid ivory manju depicting the Chinese warrior Liu Bei (Jp. Gentoku), one of the Three Generals of Han. He clasps a long halberd (naginata) against his shoulder and stands with his legs braced in readiness for action. He seems to appear on a misty moorland, the reverse showing a spear-tip piercing through the thick brume. The design is deeply incised in shishiaibori and enhanced with sumi-e (black ink.

The so-called Three Generals of Han were popularized by the 14th century Chinese novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It recounts the struggle between different factions of Han. He gained the following of the disaffected and became the Emperor of Shu Han, one of the three kingdoms of Han.

Manju
Reverse

Signed: Genshū (unrecorded artist)

Diameter: 5.9cm

Netsuke signature