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    Sale 2268

    Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    18 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 353

    A SANDSTONE FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA

    TANG DYNASTY (618-907), POSSIBLY TIANLONGSHAN CAVES

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SANDSTONE FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA
    TANG DYNASTY (618-907), POSSIBLY TIANLONGSHAN CAVES
    Shown standing in a contrapposto position, with a scarf draped diagonally around the torso and a diaphanous dhoti tied and overlapped below the rounded belly before falling in graceful U-shaped folds along the front of the legs, also wearing a foliate necklace and an armband with lozenge decoration, the ends of the tresses carved atop the shoulders
    30 in. (76 cm.) high, stone base


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    This rare sandstone figure is a fine example of the 'International' style in Buddhist art that emerged in China during the Tang dynasty. In sculpture, this style shows a strong Gupta influence, a sensual yet muscular gracefulness, creating a synthesis of the two aesthetics which produced sculptures that possess an idealized beauty as well as a contained spiritual presence.

    Compare a larger (104 cm.) sandstone sculpture of a bodhisattva from the North Wall, Cave 14 at Tianlongshan and now in the Reitberg Museum, Zurich, illustrated in Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Buddhist Statues in Overseas Collections, Beijing, 2005, p. 1106-7, for recent and historical photographs of the figure in-situ. Of particular note is the contrapposto pose and similar manner in which the scarf is draped over the shoulder, and in which the dhoti falls in even pleats. Both figures also wear a closely related foliate necklace and have the distinguishing full stomach characteristic of sculpture of this period. Other figures from the Tianlongshan group are illustrated ibid., pp. 1103-5 and 1108-10.

    Provenance

    J.T. Tai & Co., New York, 1965.


    Exhibited

    The Columbia University Exhibition of Three Thousand Years of the Ceramic Art and Ancient Sculpture of China, from the Sackler Collections, Low Memorial Library, Columbia University, New York, 11 November 1962 - 18 January 1963.
    On loan: Princeton University Art Museum, 1969 - October 2008, no. L.1969.79.