Buddhist gilt-bronzes modelled with curly hair and goatee are more commonly associated with Yuan dynasty images of Shakyamuni. Compare two similar examples from the Yuan period depicting the ascetic Shakyamuni, the first from the Cleveland Museum of Art, illustrated in Hai-wai Yi-chen, 'Chinese Art in Overseas Collections, Buddhist Sculpture', National Palace Museum, 1990, p. 171, no. 158; and the other from the Detroit Institute of Arts, illustrated ibid., p. 172, no. 159.
The combined iconography of the Amithaba on the diadem and the elaborate festoon of jewellery chains suggest a late Yuan to early Ming dating, as is the smaller figure in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated ibid., p. 178, no. 164. The Asian Art Museum figure shares many common characteristics with the present lot, such as the radiating jewellery chains, a narrow waist, and flowing style of the drapery. Both figures are seated in rajalilasana, or 'Royal Ease', which appeared to be a fashionable posture between 10th to 14th centuries. It has been suggested that this pose is representing 'the Avalokiteshvara of the Southern Seas', a name drawn from the imagery of the Bodhisattva seated at ease on a rocky shore with his left leg pendent, cf. Gems of Chinese Art from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco: The Avery Brundage Collection, Hong Kong, 1983, p. 250.
Compare also with other related figures belonging to this group of bronzes: one from the Oppenheim Collection now in the British Museum, illustrated in Buddhism: Art and Faith, London, 1985, no. 298; and a similar but larger example offered in our Hong Kong Rooms, 29 October 2001, lot 513.