This 19th-century bamboo carving represents an old sage leaning on a broom as if he has drifted into thought once he finished sweeping. He has been there long enough for one fresh leaf to fall. This figure evokes the well-known maxims for good living written by Zhu Bolu (1617-1688), which begin: Rise with daybreak; sweep the courtyard and clean the house thoroughly. . . . For every bowl of rice, think how hard it is to grow the grain. For every piece of clothing, think how much labor has been woven into it. . . .
The figure is 7 ½ “high and 5 ½” across at the base. Aside from some crack lines due to age, it is in pretty good condition.