A SMALL GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
The Property of Gotō Shinshudō
A SMALL GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA

SIXTEEN KINGDOMS PERIOD (AD 304-439)

Details
A SMALL GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
SIXTEEN KINGDOMS PERIOD (AD 304-439)
The figure is shown seated in dhyanasana on a lion throne cast in relief with two lions, with hands held in dyanasanamudra, and wears a square shawl that is draped around the body in parallel folds. The face is cast with a contemplative expression. A small pierced attachment tab projects from the back of the head.
3 ½ in. (9 cm.) high
Provenance
Mayuyama & Co., Tokyo, prior to 1983.
Literature
Kuboso Art Museum, Chinese Early Gilt Bronze Buddhas, Osaka, 1988, p. 23, no. 17.
Exhibited
Osaka, Kuboso Art Museum, Chinese Early Gilt Bronze Buddhas, 1988, no. 17.

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Lot Essay

This figure belongs to a group of small gilt-bronze sculptures of Shakyamuni Buddha made for personal use during the fourth to fifth centuries in China, and point to the direct spread of Buddhism from India into China. This can be seen in the retention of stylistic influences of early Indian representations of Buddha, such as the pose, and the type of garment with parallel folds. A number of these, with variations in the depiction of the hair and the lion base, are illustrated by Jin Shen in Hai wai ji Gong Yai cang li dai fo xiang: zhen pin ji nian cu jian (Catalogue of Treasures of Buddhist Sculpture in Overseas Collections including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Shanxi, 2007, pp. 386-87, the figure in the collection of the Kuboso Memorial Museum of Art, Japan, illustrated on p. 386, being the most similar to the current figure. See, also, another of this group sold at Christie's New York, 20 March 2014, lot 1601. Others, also with variations, are illustrated by Saburo Matsubara in Chugoku Bukkyo chokokushi shiron, vol. 1, Early Six Dynasties, Tokyo, 1995, pls. 9-14 and pl. 15d. Several of these can be seen to retain an original aureole and nimbus as well as an umbrella. The satiny patina of the surface where the gilding is worn on the current figure attests to it having been much revered.

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