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    Sale 2027

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 488

    AN UNUSUAL LARGE PARCEL-GILT AND PAINTED WHITE PORCELAIN FIGURE OF AMITAYUS

    18TH/19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN UNUSUAL LARGE PARCEL-GILT AND PAINTED WHITE PORCELAIN FIGURE OF AMITAYUS
    18TH/19TH CENTURY
    Modeled seated in dhyanasana with hands in dhyana mudra, wearing a shawl over the shoulders and a dhoti that fans out around the base, adorned with beaded jewelry highlighted in iron red and pale yellow pigment, the gilded scarf draped over the arms swirling out to the sides, the face with serene expression, the hair painted blue and worn in a tall topknot and long tresses that trail onto the shoulders behind gilded ribbons hanging from the sides of the seven-point crown tied in back with a red-painted cord, traces of iron-red and yellow pigment
    16 in. (40.8 cm.) high


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    Amitayus, known as the 'Buddha of Infinite Life,' is one of the most popular deities in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon; his typical iconography is recognized by the seated full-lotus posture with hands in meditation supporting a kalasha bottle containing the elixir of immortality, now missing.

    Ceramic Buddhist images of such unusually large size are extremely rare, and were probably specifically commissioned for ritual display in temples situated within the imperial palace precincts. It is interesting to note the sculptural depiction of the present figure, especially the detailing of the facial features, and in particular the naturalistic rendition of the eyes behind the half-closed eyelids. The careful use of paint and gilt to decorate the scarf, crown, hair and jewelery all indicate that its production would have been both costly and time consuming.

    Compare the current figure to a smaller (11½ in.) enameled Amitayus seated on a porcelain lotus base, included in Exhibition of Chinese Arts, Messrs C. T. Loo & Co., New York, 1941-1942, no. 750, where it is dated to the 18th century and said to have come from the Imperial Palace. Another smaller version (6¼ in.) of these enameled Amitayus figures, also shown seated on a porcelain lotus base, from the Helene Terrien Collection, was sold Christie's, Hong Kong, 31 October 2000, lot 924.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul E. Manheim