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Friday, May 4, 2012

Still trying to discover

Are they very, very old?
I know, I have asked before. I'm  hoping that someone will recognize them or possibly have seen similar.
Visitors, to our house, always want to know their origin.  They're only 6 inches tall yet they have become a curiosity.  

About 35 years ago, an elderly, very well dressed couple, brought these figures into a Santa Barbara consignment shop. The owner of the shop was not interested in purchasing them.
Could I purchase them? They sold them to me for under $10, all of them.
The silver haired couple didn't look like they were needy. Why did they risk rejection? And for so little!

Why didn't I ask the elderly couple?

I have seen similar figurines in the Cairo, Egypt Museum.

Or are they a clever "antique" made by an enterprising artist?

They've been repaired many  times.  The wood is very light in weight and color. Some of the hand painting looks very old some looks as if added recently. 

What do you think my dear
Blogging Friends.



  1. I would take them someplace for an appraisal. I think they are unusual and seem authentic through the computer :), but I am not knowledgeable about antiques. As far as the elderly couple looking needy, appearances can be deceiving. xo

  2. Dear Gina before I had finished scrolling down, I was thinking Egyptian. But as Barbara has suggested you could have an appraisal. Send some photos to Christies, Sotherbys or somewhere similar and see what they say. Alternatively you could always take them to a decent museum for an opinion.

  3. Dear Gina,
    These little figures are certainly old. To me they look like chinese .. maybe country workers from the rice paddies.. they have no shoes on.
    Wherever they are from, they are so intriguing and a point of conversation in your room..
    Like some of the other suggestions.. you could ask someone in the antique trade..
    In the meantime.. they will i am sure take centre place on one of your shelves.
    they are lovely
    Happy saturday

  4. Gina,
    I came back to look at the figurines.. and they may not be chinese. I looked again their eyes are of a person from Caucasian descent.. Europe. They could be merchants.. its intriguing and i would love to know more when you find out... val

  5. Dear Barbara, You are right about the older couple. I wish that I would have explored their situation or even asked about the figurines. Even after all these years I have not forgotten them. They seemed like they were one, they even looked alike. Too bad I was so young and ignorant and took everything at face value.

  6. Dear Rosemary, You have given me a fine idea. I will give it a try and contact Christies. We have had good luck with them on another appraisal. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Dear Val, that is interesting what you say that the figurines could be Chinese. My Anthropology Professor also thought that they might be of oriental origin. I didn't think so. I had seen similar figurines at the Cairo Museum.

  8. Dear Val, For the same reason as you have discovered, I don't think they are Chinese. I have asked a few friends in the antique business but none have a clue. But I'm going to get to the bottom of this "if it hairlips a hog".

  9. No resemblances to anything I remember ever seeing, but then I haven't been lucky enough to visit the Cairo Museum - YET!

    I've never heard "hairtips of a hog" before now! I love those kinds of phrases! Thanks for sharing.

    Mary in Oregon

  10. Dear Mary, If it hairlips a hog is an expression a friend of mine from Texas uses.
    I like the "Yet". Hope you get to go.

  11. I will have to google "hairtips of a hog" so I can search the meaning before I use that phrase in conversation. My friends might get a charge out of it!

    Egypt has always been a place on my Travel List but with the recent uprising it has dropped down a few notches. My recent reading last August of Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra reinspired my interest. Great book. Read it if you haven't already.

    Mary in Oregon

  12. Hi Mary, Be sure to look up "if it hairlips a hog not hairtips.

  13. Dear Gina, What's interesting about these figures is that they appear to come from different countries. The left figure from the first photo looks decidedly Chinese, while the one on the right appears to come from Egypt. I can't make up my mind about the middle fellow, but he's not Chinese. And yet their bases indicate that they belong together. Could they be the Magi?

  14. Dear Mark, An interesting point you are making. I agree with you that the first figure on the left could be Chinese, mostly because of the "suit" he is wearing. No doubt that they belong to a group. They are all the same height and as you pointed out, they have the same base.

  15. Hello Gina! Mind-blowing question it is huh. Haha! By the way, only experts can recognize how old are that figurines. It might be old or antique as what you've said, but it can be new, you know, there are lots of factors to make one thing look old. :)
    Thank you for sharing what's on your mind. I like your blog. :)

  16. Dear Antique, Right on! Often I "antique" my ceramics. Not to fool anyone but to make them look more interesting. These figures are at least 35 years old (that'swhen I purchased them). But I have a sneaking suspicion that they are not as old as they appear.