Anonymous (17th/18th century) Guanyin by a Lotus Pond
Lot 2021
Anonymous (17th/18th century) Guanyin by a Lotus Pond
Sold for US$ 122,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
Chinese Paintings New York
12 Sep 2012 10:00 EDT

Auction 20379
Anonymous (17th/18th century) Guanyin by a Lotus Pond Anonymous (17th/18th century) Guanyin by a Lotus Pond
Lot Details
Anonymous (17th/18th century)
Guanyin by a Lotus Pond
Ink and color on silk, mounted and framed.
108 x 63 1/4in (274 x 161cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Christopher Buckner Asian Art Gallery, London, 2005
    formerly in a private French collection

    Published:
    Christopher Bruckner Asian Art Gallery Chinese Imperial Patronage Treasures From Temples and Palaces London, 2005. Cat. 13

    Likely to date from the second half of the seventeenth century, this sublime depiction of Guanyin of the South Sea (Nanhai Guanyin) is nearly identical to a composition created in 1593 on the commission of Empress Dowager Li Cisheng, the mother of the Wanli Emperor (reigned 1573-1619) and a generous imperial patron of Buddhist imagery in the late Ming Dynasty. The earlier example--acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1918--has been interpreted as the celebration of two miraculous events that occurred in 1586 and 1587 and as a conveyance of both an imperial and Buddhist message.

    The current lot, over twice as large as the earlier Metropolitan example, depicts a bejeweled Guanyin leaning over an ornate balustrade above a blossoming lotus pond. The boy pilgrim Shancai stands on a lotus leaf in adoration below, and behind the principal figure a white parrot is perched on a magnificently contorted garden rock, as bamboo winds its way through the stone's perforations. The implications of reading the garden rock as a mountainous landscape--in this case Putuo, the home of Nanhai Guanyin--is further enforced by the surreal multicolor clouds that hover at the top of the composition and endow the scene with an otherworldly demeanor.

    Although the same composition was also carved into stone and set up at Beijing's Sheng'an Monastery four years earlier in 1589, it is likely the artist of the current composition was working from the 1593 Metropolitan example due to the resemblance of the subtler details that are not evident from the stone carving or the rubbings. That said, the current lot differs from the 1593 example at several points. Shancai is somewhat larger; the treatment of the wood grain on the baluster appears more pronounced and naturalistic; and greater attention is paid to Guanyin's robe, not only in the floral collar, but in the depiction of the gauze, which not only exposes the jeweled arm of the goddess, but her hand that holds a rosary.

    For a discussion on the Metropolitan example, see: Marsha Weidner, "Imperial Engagements with Buddhist Art and Architecture" in Cultural Intersections in Later Chinese Buddhism, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2001, pp 128-129; and Marsha Weidner ed., Latter Days of the Law, Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas, 1994, cat. no 47.

    無名氏 觀音大士像 設色絹本 鏡片 十七/十八世紀

    來源:2005年購於倫敦Christopher Buckner Asian Art Gallery
    前任法國私人收藏

    出版: 倫敦Christopher Bruckner Asian Art, Chinese Imperial Patronage Treasures From Temples and Palaces, 2005年, 圖13號

    註﹕此幅《觀音大士像》大約作於17世紀後半期,畫作所繪之南海觀音菩薩,與另一幅作於1593年的觀音像幾乎完全相同(見附圖1)。後者是受命於明萬曆皇帝之母李太后慈聖, 相傳為紀念李太后於萬曆十四及十五年間 (1586-87), 曾兩次遇菩薩顯靈而作。 一次李太后寢宮中蓮花遍開, 另一次則夢見菩薩賜九蓮經。所以終其一生, 李太后自詡為九蓮菩薩轉生。作於1593年的觀音像已於1918年被紐約大都會藝術博物館收購。

    相比之下,本拍品之尺寸約為大都會藝術博物館藏品之兩倍。畫作描繪滿身珠光寶氣的觀音大士,倚欄憑坐于一蓮花池邊。左下角一個面呈敬仰之情的善財童子,站在蓮花葉上,合十仰望。一隻白鸚鵡隨著攀延的竹藤,停棲在一塊扭曲的異石上。此石隱喻著普陀—南海觀音的住所。畫作上空漂浮的多彩祥雲,更加突出了這超現實的境界。

    北京聖安寺保存了一件與此幅《觀音大士像》構圖極似的作於1589年的石刻。然而從構圖的角度來看,本拍品應是擬自1593年大都會藝術博物館藏品, 而並非摹石刻或拓本。本畫與1593年的樣本有以下幾處不同:善財童子比較大,欄杆木紋的畫法更顯著和自然,再者描繪觀音大士袍服的筆法亦極盡精細,不但突出了領口的花紋,而輕盈的薄紗除了顯露觀音菩薩戴滿珠光的玉臂,亦現出了她持握念珠的素手。

    關於大都會博物館館藏畫的更多資料, 見 Marsha Weidner, "Imperial Engagements with Buddhist Art and Architecture" in Cultural Intersections in Later Chinese Buddhism, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2001, pp 128-129; and Marsha Weidner ed., Latter Days of the Law, Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas, 1994, cat. no 47.
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