QING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY
The thickly patinated crab is formed from a single section of bamboo root. The shell, the eyestalk and frontal claws are naturalistically carved while its legs and apron are formed from the roots of the bamboo. The four left legs are tucked beneath its body while the right legs are outstretched, resembling a crab crawling away sideways.
An example of a bamboo crab is illustrated in Bamboo Carving of China, New York, 1983, p. 93, Catalogue No. 31
A root wood ‘crab’ box, carved in a similar naturalistic style, is published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Small Refined Articles of the Study 文玩, Shanghai, 2009, pp. 312-313, Catalogue No. 310