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A FINELY CAST GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF AVALOKITESHVARA
Property from a Private Pennsylvania Collection
A FINELY CAST GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF AVALOKITESHVARA

MING DYNASTY, 15TH CENTURY, PROBABLY ZHENGTONG PERIOD (1436-1449)

Details
A FINELY CAST GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF AVALOKITESHVARA
MING DYNASTY, 15TH CENTURY, PROBABLY ZHENGTONG PERIOD (1436-1449)
The bodhisattva Guanyin is shown seated in rajalilasana holding in each hand a slender stem of lotus that rises to the shoulders, and is richly dressed in an elaborately decorated dhoti, a goat pelt wrapped around the torso and the arms, beaded jewelry and a five-point crown inset with 'jewels' behind which is a seated figure of Amitabha Buddha.
10¼ in. (26 cm.) high, stand
Provenance
Colonel Robert Coleman Hall Brock (1861-1909) and Alice Gibson (1861-1925), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Henry Gibson Brock (1886-1940) and Margaret Cust Burgwin (1926-1961) Collection, Muncy, Pennsylvania, and thence by descent within the family.

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Lot Essay

Perhaps the most popular figure of the Buddhist pantheon during the Yuan-Ming period was the bodhisattva Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara). One of the common depictions of this bodhisattva is the so-called 'Water-Moon Guanyin,' or 'Avalokiteshvara of the Southern Seas,' which shows the figure seated in rajalilasana, or 'Royal Ease', on a base mimicking a rocky shore.
Similar depictions of elaborate festoons of jeweled chains can be found on other gilt-bronze images of Guanyin dated to the late Yuan-early Ming period, such as the figure from the Oppenheim Collection, now in the British Museum, illustrated by W. Zwalf (ed.) in Buddhism: Art and Faith, London, 1985, no. 298; a figure in The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated in Hai-wa yi-zhen: Chinese Art in Overseas Collections - Buddhist Sculpture, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1990, p. 178, no. 164; and a third figure in the Museum of Eastern Art, Oxford, illustrated in T.O.C.S., 1959-1960, vol. 32, pl. 102, no. 236. All three of these figures are shown seated in rajalilasana and share many common characteristics with the present figure, such as the radiating beaded chains, narrow waist and flowing style of drapery.

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