The present figure appears to be a 19th century plaster copy of an early 18th century figure by Amoy Chinqua. Amoy Chinqua was one of only two recorded Cantonese sculptors, or 'face-makers', working in the 18th Century. The other was the better-known Chitqua, who worked in the third quarter of the century. Such figures were mainly commissioned by visiting merchants and naval officers connected to the European trading companies. Due to their very fragile nature, only few of these individually-commissioned 'painted plasterwork' or clay figures survived, although many collections contain examples of the 'nodding-head' types of figures, representing non-specific Chinese dignitaries and their consorts.
The present figure is identical to a figure of an unidentified European gentleman, exhibited at the Brighton Pavilion in 1986 and now in the Collection of the Peabody Museum, Salem, which is signed and dated 'Amoy Chinquafe (1)717' (sic). This figure is illustrated by C. L. Crossman, op.cit., p.307, pl.182. Another comparable figure dated to circa1710-25, although unsigned and unattributed, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Chinese Export Art and Design, colour pl. 1 where it is illustrated together with its lacquered wood case.