Among the various Cybis porcelain ‘genres’ (generalized categories) there is a small group called the Classical Impressions. These were originally all white bisque sculptures, limited editions, and first appeared in the mid-1980s.
Leda and the Swan is 9” high and 13” wide on its base and was a declared limited edition of 500 white bisque sculptures at $1450 in 1986. It is one of the first three pieces in that “collection.” By 1988 Cybis had altered the edition to 500 in white bisque for $1750, plus an edition of 200 color versions for $2250. The closing year and prices for either/both editions are unknown at present. I have never seen a photo of the “color” Leda but would very much like to; perhaps only a very few were made.
Icarus is a much larger sculpture: 19” high overall, 15” deep and 18” wide. Also a declared limited edition of 500, it’s possible that the edition size was reduced before closing. His original 1986 issue price was $1800 but by 1988 it had risen to $1950. Closing year and price are currently not known. There was never a color version of Icarus. An interesting side note about this sculpture is that it was designed by a young man who had previously worked for Industrial Light & Magic’s model shop creating some of the models used in the original 1970s Star Wars movies!
There were three intended martial-arts sculptures within this Classical Impressions series, however I’ve been able to verify the existence of only two of them so far.
The name of this piece is T’ang Dynasty ‘The Student’. It appears in the initial 1986 Classical Impressions brochure. It is 9.5” high and came with a separate black lucite base which was a first for a Cybis piece. Intially priced at $950, the declared issue was 750 white bisque sculptures; the brochure cited it as “first in a series of three.” A 1988 Cybis price list shows the name simply as T’ang Dynasty Figure I …..and, just like Leda, now in two color options and different edition sizes: white bisque as an edition of 500 for $995 and also a “color” version in a smaller 200-piece edition for $1395.
That same 1988 price list also shows T’ang Dynasty Figure II which was introduced in 1987. This too was shown as available in either white bisque (edition 500, at $995) and color (edition 200, at $1395), so clearly the studio had rather quickly made a marketing decision shift re: edition sizes, colorways and pricing after the intial series launch. This piece too came with a black lucite base.
I have no idea if they ever released a third sculpture. I also have never seen a color version of any and am mightily curious about them, so if anyone has a photo, please let me know (contact form on the About the Archive page) because I’d love to add it here.
Also shown in the Mythology post, Dream of Venus was also placed into the Classical Impressions category. Introduced in 1988 in the same color/edition size format as the T’ang figures, the 500-edition white bisque was $950 and the 200-edition color was $1475. She is still on the Cybis site offered as a single 500-edition run in both colorways: $2975 for white, and $3500 for color as shown.
Finally, the current Cybis site shows The Acrobat under the “Classical” heading although it’s not known whether they were originally issued as part of that category. It is offered as a single acrobat at $675 and also separately as The Acrobats (pair as bookends) for $1250 – in other words a savings of $100 for two. The Acrobat is 9.25” high and 8” wide at the base which appears to be black wood. Introduction year is unknown, other than that it was definitely after the spring of 1988. My best guess is the early to mid 1990s. I have no idea why these are signed on the wood base rather than on the sculpture itself; I don’t think I’ve ever seen the signature on the a base before. Perhaps the figures are glued to the base and the assumption was made that they would/could not be separated from it? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Cybis signed on its wood base before. (Note: The piece is pure white bisque; the pair shown in the first two photos appear to be quite dirty.)
This sculpture was photographed in either 1975 or 1976 at the Cybis studio but was apparantly never released. The style and subject — which appears to be a seated goddess with her twin children — are so similar to Leda and the Swan that it may have been intended to be part of the Classical Impressions series. Based on her headdress and the wheat(?) stalk in her bodice, the goddess may be Demeter who did have twin sons but her much better known offspring was Persephone. Although the Classical Impressions were not released until the 1980s it is always possible that the sculptures themselves were designed during the prior decade and simply not released until later.
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