• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2297

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    26 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1299

    A RARE INSCRIBED GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF AVALOKITESVARA

    SUI DYNASTY (581-618)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE INSCRIBED GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF AVALOKITESVARA
    SUI DYNASTY (581-618)
    The slender bodhisattva shown seated with feet resting on a waisted lotus support raised on a shaped faceted base centered by a cintamani, with a pearl held in the right hand, the left resting atop the knee, wearing a bejeweled filet below a seated figure of Amitabha Buddha, the head framed by an openwork mandorla with flame border attached to a tab projecting from the back of the head, the base inscribed with an inscription
    6 5/8 in. (17 cm.) high, stand


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    The inscription may be translated, 'Disciple Ren Ci respectfully made a sculpture of Guanyin (Guan ShiYin) as an offering to the altar for eternal life'. This gilt-bronze figure depicting the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara seated with both legs pendent in the so-called 'Western' pose appears to be closely related to a bronze figure of Maitreya of comparable size (16.5 cm.) in the Langen Collection, illustrated by U. Wiesner in Buddhisten Jainas Hindus, Köln, 2005, no. 43, where it is also dated to the Sui dynasty. While the present figure is more elaborate in its decoration, the two share in common a very similar necklace, from which hangs a single jewel at the center of the chest, and long, jewelled sashes which drape down the body and over the knees. This type of decoration can also be seen on a larger (30.2 cm.) Sui dynasty standing gilt-bronze figure of a bodhisattva in The William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, illustrated in Hai-Wai Yi-Chen: Chinese Art in Overseas Collections, Taipei, 1990, p. 74, no. 69. Of particular note are the similar florets which adorn the jewelled sashes on both figures. This type of adornment appears to have carried over from bronzes of the Northern Qi period (550-77), as evidenced by a standing gilt-bronze figure of Avalokitesvara with similar decoration in the Nitta Collection, illustrated in The Crucible of Compassion and Wisdom, Taipei, 1987, p. 164, pl. 67. Both figures also share in common similar scarves which drape around the arms and end in two folds on either side of the body, a trait seen on a gilt-bronze bodhisattva datable to 589, Sui dynasty, illustrated in Hai Wai Ji Gan Tai Zang Li Dai Fo Xiang, Shanxi, 2007, p. 473, and on a Sui dynasty triad of Amitabha, Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta in the Univeristy Museum, Philadelphia, illustrated by H. Munsterberg, Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, Tokyo and Vermont, 1967, no. 115.

    A Technical Examination Report is available upon request.

    Provenance

    Acquired in Asia in 1968.


    Pre-Lot Text

    ANOTHER PROPERTY