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Figure
Date Made/Found: 1900s
Maker: Unknown
Material and Medium: Ivory, wood
Dimensions: Overall: 980 x 250 x 200mm (38 9/16 x 9 13/16 x 7 7/8in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.304
This figure is of General Yue Fei (1103 - 1142), a soldier still revered in China. He is holding a spear on his back and wears elaborate silk robes and armour. Yue Fei was born into a poor family of farmers, in south China. He joined the Song army and rose to the rank of General. He swore that he would recapture territory lost to invading Jin rulers and free two former Emperors still held in captivity. Yue Fei organised an army and recaptured vast territories from the Jin. However, the reigning Emperor Gaozong was terrified that Yue Fei would be too successful and he would loose his throne. He plotted secretly with one of his ministers to hold peace talks with the Jin, and tried and executed Yue Fei for high treason. From that day, Yue Fei has been celebrated by patriots as a symbol of national resistance to foreign domination.
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