This very well carved ivory statue of a scholar is a late 19th century product. It is 11" high (with hardwood carved base, it is 13" high), 3 1/2" wide and 2 1/2" thick. The image is the well-known Song Dynasty (960AD~1270AD) hermit scholar Lin Pu (林 逋). Li Pu (967AD~1028AD) was born in Hang Zhou City, Zhe Jiang. When he was young he traveled a lot. Later in life, he settled down to live alone under the Gu Mountain near Xi Lake. He was well known and was admired for his multiple talents in calligraphy, painting and poetry. Most importantly, he was a true Confucian scholar; he never worked for the government nor did he enter into politics. He remained single his entire life, living in a quiet, humble manner. His house was surrounded by thousands of plum trees. Many cranes nested nearby. Hence, he was known by the phrase "Mei Qi He Zi" which means “plum blossoms as a wife and cranes as children.” After Lin Pu died, the Song emperor was so moved by his efforts to remain above everyday life, he gave him the honorific name “Hejing." That is why more people know this hermit scholar as Lin Hejing instead of Lin Pu.
This ivory statue depicts Lin Pu wearing a soft cloth hat and a long robe. His right hand holds a branch of plum blossoms; his left hand holds a carved wood dragon head staff. A gourd wine container hangs from the dragon's open mouth. It weights 2.2 lbs. Aside from one small age crack on the hat and a fine line on the top staff, it is in great condition.