A sculpture tradition developed in the 18th century China trade encompassing both portrait figures and character-type representations. Including unbaked clay and nodding-head figures as well as carved wood, the category's apogee is undoubtedly the life-size figure of the merchant Yamqua given to the East India Marine Society by Benjamin Hodges in 1801. (See C. Crossman, The China Trade, pp. 307-21). Figures like the present example enabled Westerners to bring home a work of art embodying the interesting characters they encountered while in the far-off East.
Compare with a seated Lady sold Christie's New York, 23 January 2001, lot 100