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    Sale 7621

    A Private English Collection of White Jade Carvings & Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Export Art

    4 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 50

    A RARE AND LARGE LACQUERED WOOD FIGURE OF SIMHANADA AVALOKITESVARA

    EARLY MING DYNASTY, 15TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE AND LARGE LACQUERED WOOD FIGURE OF SIMHANADA AVALOKITESVARA
    EARLY MING DYNASTY, 15TH CENTURY
    Modelled seated on the back of a recumbent lion on a platform, his left hand raised in vitarka mudra, his right hand resting on the right knee, wearing loosely draped robes falling in crisp graceful folds, the borders finely detailed with scrolling and cloud patterns, opening at the chest to reveal an elaborate beaded necklace, the head with a seven-leaf foliate crown containing the Buddha Amitabha in the central leaf, the elegantly carved face with full cheeks and small, pursed mouth in a contemplative expression, the beast with head inclining to its left, its eyes inlaid in black glass, and the curly mane and bushy tail detailed with incisions, traces of gilding and lacquer remaining
    53 in. (135 cm.) high, wood stand


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    Simhanada Avalokitesvara is a non-Tantra form of Avalokitesvara invoked to cure leprosy. The epithet 'Simhanada' means 'with the voice of a lion,' and is also applied to both Sakyamuni and Manjusri. It has been suggested that it may have a reference to an ancient legend in which the roaring of a lion was believed to awaken still-born babies to life. The appearance of the lion can sometimes lead to the identification of Manjusri, but the Buddha Amitabha in the crown indicates that the figure is in fact a manifestation of Avalokitesvara. Also, Manjusri is commonly depicted wearing a five-leaf crown, a reference to Wutaishan (Five-Peak Mountain), not seven-leaf as is the case with the present figure.

    A related figure of Simhanada, seated on a recumbent qilin and also dated to the Ming period, was included in the exhibition, Sculpture and Ornament in Early Chinese Art, Eskenazi, London, June 11 - July 13, 1996, Catalogue, no. 33. Another bodhisattva, dated Yuan/early Ming period, also on a qilin, with hair arranged in tresses, was exhibited in Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, Eskenazi, London, June 10 - July 12, 1997, Catalogue, no. 15, and was later sold in our New York Rooms, 24th March 2004, lot 116. Compare also a figure illustrated by O. Sirn, 'Studien zur Chinesischen Plastik de Post-T'angzeit', Ostasiatische Zeitschrift, (New series, 4th year) vol. 1/2, Berlin, 1927, pl. 8, fig. 18. See, also, the figure of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra seated on an elephant illustrated by d'Argenc, ed., Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculpture in the Avery Brundage Collection, Tokyo, 1974, pl. 149, which is dated to the Yuan dynasty. Another comparable figure, also a figure of Samantabhadra, was included in the exhibition, Ancient Chinese Sculptural Treasures: Carvings in Wood, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Art, 1998, no. 8, dated Yuan. A figure of Manjusri from the Leventritt Collection and dated to the Yuan period is illustrated by R. d'Argenc in Asian Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, Leipzig, 1978, fig. 202.

    The present figure is in remarkably fine condition, and has been in the present owner's family since the 1920s. The illustrated photograph was taken in the 1950s with the figure in situ in the family residence. It is part of a larger collection of mainly Chinese works of art which were assembled mainly in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this lot should be marked with the star symbol. VAT is payable at 5.001 on the hammer price and at 17.5 on teh buyer's premium.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN