• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2266

    Japanese and Korean Art

    17 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 19

    A wood sculpture of Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana)


    Price Realised  


    A wood sculpture of Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana)
    Edo Period (17th-18th century)
    Carved wood with gilding assembled in yosegi technique, the hands in the "knowledge fist" gesture, the hair arranged in a tall topknot and adorned with a hammered-metal crown inset with colored stones, the scarf and skirt arranged in stylized folds and draping across the lap, gilt wood halo, metal necklace, and lotus-form base signed Genbei daibusshi Koyasan (Genbei, Buddhist sculptor [at the monastery complex of] Mount Koya)
    20¾in. (52.7cm.), figure
    17in. (43.2cm.), base

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    Howard A. Link, ed., Asian Orientations: Treasures from Honolulu's Oriental Art Society, exh. cat. (Honolulu: Oriental Art Society of Hawaii and the Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1985), p. 116, no. 65.

    Dainichi Nyorai, the supreme Buddha of the esoteric pantheon, is classified as a Buddha, but is presented here as a bodhisattva in princely regalia. He sits in lotus position, with hair piled in a high top-knot and wearing the crown and jewelry of royalty. The deity forms a distinctive hand gesture, or mudra, called "knowledge fist": his left hand forms a fist with index finger pointing up and grasped by his right hand. Transparent, crystal eyes, the pupils painted in black, were introduced at the end of the twelfth century in keeping with a new search for realism.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, "Asian Orientations: Treasures from Honolulu's Oriental Art Society," 1985.7.11--8.22, no. 65