A POLYCHROME AND GILT-LIMESTONE FIGURE OF BUDDHA
This lot is offered without reserve.
A POLYCHROME AND GILT-LIMESTONE FIGURE OF BUDDHA

CHINA, NORTHERN QI DYNASTY (AD 550-577)

Details
A POLYCHROME AND GILT-LIMESTONE FIGURE OF BUDDHA
CHINA, NORTHERN QI DYNASTY (AD 550-577)
The figure is shown standing with his left hand in varadamudra, and clad in an ankle-length, diaphanous sanghati painted in a patchwork-style, the face with bow-shaped mouth and heavy-lidded eyes, with the hair in tight curls over the ushnisha
18 ¼ in. (46.4 cm.) high, stand
Provenance
The Collection of Robert H. Ellsworth, New York, before 2000.
Special notice

This lot is offered without reserve.

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Gemma Sudlow
Gemma Sudlow

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Lot Essay

The Northern Qi period witnessed a transformation in Buddhist sculptural style, particularly in regards to drapery, from the earlier Northern Wei period. While the artisans of the Northern Wei depicted the Buddha's robes with a deep neck and voluminous, rippling folds, Northern Qi robes are soft and diaphanous, revealing the contours of the body beneath. The present figure, like many other similar examples of the period, is lavishly painted and gilded in imitation of Buddha's patchwork robes, the gilding used to delineate the seams between each square of red cloth. For a closely related figure, see Masterpieces of Buddhist Statuary from Qingzhou City, Beijing, 1999, p. 108.
The Northern Qi style is an indirect interpretation of the Indian Gupta style, particularly the Sarnath school, transmitted to China via the Central Asian trade routes. The adoption of the foreign style reflects the socio-political changes that occurred at the beginning of the Northern Qi period, when its rulers looked to non-Han stylistic traditions. This was in marked contrast to the Northern Wei rulers, who sought to acculturate themselves within the Han polity through a process of Sinicization.

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