Date Made/Found: around 1850
Material and Medium: Ivory
Dimensions: Overall: 465 × 100 × 90mm (18 5/16 × 3 15/16 × 3 9/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.219
This is a figure of Liu Ji (1311-1375), a military strategist, officer,scientist, politician and poet. He was born in south China, at a time when the country was still ruled by invading Mongols who had founded the Yuan dynasty. During the latter part of their rule in the 1300s, many groups rebelled against them, particularly in the south. One group had a skilled leader who defeated the Mongols and founded the Ming dynasty in 1368.
Liu Ji was chief advisor to the new emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, and planned the construction of a new capital and the rebuilding of China after decades of neglect. He was interested in astronomy, calendrical science, magnetism, geomancy, and military technology. Liu Ji also served in many battles as a commanding officer on land, and as admiral on the flagship of the early Ming navy.