The teachings of Confucius have been an integral part of the Chinese culture for several centuries, and have even transcended international boundaries. Among his many guiding principles outlining the path to live a good moral life, the great teacher emphasised the importance of education and equality for all, irrespective of their background. Paying an artistic tribute to this revered Chinese philosopher and this spirit of egalitarianism, Royal Selangor recently unveiled their Celestial Wisdoms collection: a selection of exquisitely crafted figurines representing Confucius and his five disciples.
One of the world’s leading pewter manufacturers, the Malaysian brand is known for its remarkable range of home décor, tableware and ornamental gift items — all made of a very high-quality alloy that comprises tin, copper and antimony. The versatility of this metal is such that it can be moulded into beautiful sculptures that convey an elegant grace.
And that is precisely what comes across in this exceptional collection. Each of the six figurines, around 6–7 inches tall, is presented in a seated position on a wooden stand. The meticulously intricate carving showcases every fold of their robes, and even the waves in their hair knots. And while all this impresses, it is the serenity of their expressions and the realism of their facial contours that is truly extraordinary. Credit for this must be given to Chinese artist Chiang Yitze, whose designs are the inspiration for these sculptures.
An air of tranquillity surrounds the figurines, including those of Confucius’ five disciples, as each represents a certain quality to be emulated. Yanhui, for instance, is respected for his desire to learn and his modesty. Minsum is admired for maintaining his duty as a son in the face of immense ill treatment by his stepmother. Confucius’ third follower is known for his integrity and commitment towards his country, while Duanmu Ci is recognised for his deep understanding of human behaviour and kindness towards his fellowman.
And last, but definitely not the least, Zhongyou is held in high esteem for his courage and determination that helped him rise through the ranks to become a great warrior. In all, the Celestial Wisdom collection is a physical manifestation of Confucius’ principles espousing the best of mankind — loyalty, benevolence, compassion and valour — and fills the home with a positive energy that calms and inspires.
The Celestial Wisdom collection is available at Royal Selangor boutiques from October onwards. For more information, visit my.royalselangor.com