A rare marble figure of a luohan, Tang Dynasty; together with four books Musee Guimet and catalogue of collection of Mr Riaz
Lot 101
A rare and important marble figure of a Buddhist disciple Tang Dynasty
Sold for £457,250 (US$ 758,231) inc. premium
Auction Details
A rare and important marble figure of a Buddhist disciple, probably Ananda Tang Dynasty A rare marble figure of a luohan, Tang Dynasty; together with four books Musee Guimet and catalogue of collection of Mr Riaz A rare marble figure of a luohan, Tang Dynasty; together with four books Musee Guimet and catalogue of collection of Mr Riaz A rare marble figure of a luohan, Tang Dynasty; together with four books Musee Guimet and catalogue of collection of Mr Riaz A rare marble figure of a luohan, Tang Dynasty; together with four books Musee Guimet and catalogue of collection of Mr Riaz
Lot Details
The Property of a Gentleman
A rare and important marble figure of a Buddhist disciple
Tang Dynasty
The graceful sculpture, probably representing Ananda, carved from warm grey-toned marble standing facing directly forwards with his gaze serenely downcast through narrowed eyes, the nose elegantly arched above the small slightly-pursed mouth, the head smooth and bald with elongated ears, the right hand peacefully grasping the left wrist in front of the body, the shoulders gently rounded and covered on both sides with a draped robe falling in simple heavy folds down to reveal a more gathered underskirt just above the bare feet standing on a single lotus pedestal carved from the same block of stone; the sculpture sold with the four-volume corpus raisonné of Chinese sculpture, O.Siren, Annales du Musée Guimet, Bibliothèque d'Art, Nouvelle Série I, La Sculpture Chinoise de Ve au VIVe Siècle, Paris, 1926; and also an auction catalogue of the collection of Mr Mamdouh Riaz, Ancien Ministre, Cairo, 1955.
62cm (24 3/8in) high (6).

Footnotes

  • 唐 大理石雕佛徒 (或阿難陀)

    Provenance: Collection Rousset, Paris
    The Collection of Mr Mamdouh Riaz, Ancien Ministre, Cairo, 1955
    A European private collection

    Illustrated: O.Siren, Annales du Musée Guimet, Bibliothèque d'Art, Nouvelle Série I, La Sculpture Chinoise de Ve au XIVe Siècle, Tome III, Paris, 1926, pl.374.

    The Tang Dynasty Emperors used all three major beliefs – Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism - to secure popular support for their dynasty and in so doing reinforced the close association of sculpture and state; see A.Paludan, Chinese Sculpture: A Great Tradition, Chicago, 2006, p.270. The present extremely rare marble figure of a luohan belongs to the Buddhist category and closely resembles sculptures of disciples flanking Buddha in the Qianfodong (Cave of a Thousand Buddhas) dated to the early Tang period; see also those in the Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang, Henan Province, illustrated by A.Paludan, ibid. p.293, fig.178; and other examples in Cyugoku Sekkutsu: Ryumon Sekkutsu, vol.2, Heibonsha series, 1988, pls.55 and 64.

    Compare also a similar but larger (92cm high) sandstone figure of a luohan, Tang Dynasty, identified as Sravaka, in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm (fig.1), illustrated in Zhong guo lin shi hai wai fo jiao zao xiang zhong he tu mu, vol.6, Beijing, 2005, p.1137 (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Buddhist Statues in Overseas Collections). However, it is possible that the present figure is a representation of Buddha's disciple Ananda, who (together with Kasyapa) is often portrayed flanking Buddha.

    The present figure is a remarkable achievement, successfully rendering the peaceful and contemplative expression, and the elegant and finely sculpted lines of the robe falling over the shoulders and draping the body in a realistic manner. The figure unusually retains traces of lacquer.

    Compare a similar marble figure of a monk, Tang Dynasty, but missing its head, sold at Christie's New York, 24-25 March 2011, lot 1303.
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