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A DATED GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN
The Property of Gotō Shinshudō
A DATED GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN

NORTHERN WEI DYNASTY (AD 386-534), DATED BY INSCRIPTION TO THE 5TH YEAR OF ZHENGGUANG (AD 524)

Details
A DATED GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN NORTHERN WEI DYNASTY (AD 386-534), DATED BY INSCRIPTION TO THE 5TH YEAR OF ZHENGGUANG (AD 524) The bodhisattva is shown standing on a lotus base raised on a bracket stand inscribed on two sides with a dated inscription. The figure holds a lotus stem in the raised right hand and in the left hand the end of the scarf draped around the shoulders and arms, and wears a long incised robe gathered at the waist that falls to the tops of the bare feet, a bead necklace and a tall crown hung with trailing ribbons. The figure is backed by a flame-shaped aureole with flame border and the head by a double nimbus of lotus petals. 7 in. (17.8 cm.) high
Provenance
Mayuyama & Co., Tokyo, prior to 1983.
Literature
Osaka City Museum, Chinese Buddhist Sculptures, Osaka, 1984, p. 60, no. 88.
Kuboso Museum of Art, Gilt Bronze Buddhist Figures from Six Dynasty Period, Osaka, 1991, p. 59, no. 59.
Museum Yamato Bunkakan, Chinese Gilt Bronze Buddhist Figures, Nara, 1992, p. 60, no. 28.
Jin Shen, Zhongguo lidai jinian foxiang tudian (Illustrated Chinese Buddha Images Through the Ages), Beijing, 1995, p. 170, no. 119.
Matsubara Saburo, Chugoku Bukkyou Chokokushi ron (The Path of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture), vol. 1, Tokyo, 1995, pl. 167-c.
Exhibited
Osaka, Osaka City Museum, Chinese Buddhist Sculptures, 1984, no. 88.
Osaka, Kuboso Museum of Art, Gilt bronze Buddhist Figures from Six Dynasty Period, 1991, no. 59.
Nara, Museum Yamato Bunkakan, Chinese Gilt Bronze Buddhist Figures, 2 October - 8 November, 1992, no. 28.

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Lot Essay

The inscription may be translated, 'Hu Pan's wife made this figure of Guanyin, praying for the safety of her family', and is dated 17th day, 12th month, 5th year of Zhengguang (AD 524).

The figure and the aureole of this votive shrine are very similar to another Northern Wei example, similarly inscribed on two sides of the base with a dated inscription, corresponding to AD 513, sold at Christie's New York, 20 March 2014, lot 1603. As with the current example, the figure also holds a lotus stem in the right hand, but rather than holding one end of the scarf in the left hand, the bodhisattva holds a pendent kundika. Also unlike the current figure, the reverse of the aureole is cast with five images of Buddha seated on a lotus, all beneath a large canopy. Stylistically, these two votive shrines correspond to others of Northern Wei date, also with flame-shaped aureole, and with the figure often, but not always, holding a lotus stem in one hand, but more usually with the other hand holding either the scarf or holding the hand in varada mudra. Two slightly earlier examples of this type of gilt-bronze shrine, depicting the bodhisattva holding a lotus stem as well as an end of the scarf, are illustrated by H. Munsterberg, Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, Vermont/Tokyo, 1967, pls. 40 and 41, the first, in the British Museum, is dated to AD 471, the second, in the Seattle Art Museum, is dated to AD 485. Bodhisattvas holding a lotus stem are also identified as Padmapani, the lotus-bearing manifestation of 'Avalokiteshvara'.

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