A very rare gilt-bronze figure of Avalokitesvara 18th century
Lot 286
A very rare gilt-bronze figure of Avalokitesvara 18th century
Sold for £109,250 (US$ 178,392) inc. premium

Lot Details
A very rare gilt bronze figure of Avalokitesvara A very rare gilt bronze figure of Avalokitesvara A very rare gilt bronze figure of Avalokitesvara
A very rare gilt-bronze figure of Avalokitesvara
18th century
The Bodhisattva superbly cast with three heads surmounted by two further tiers of three heads and two more single heads above, each with a varying expression including calm, fierce, compassionate and angry, the figure holding two hands together in front of his chest in prayer, and other arms radiating out form the shoulder holding various attributes or held in Buddhist gestures, the figure framed by a 'thousand-hands' mandorla and flanked on each side by a four-armed attendant, all raised on a repoussé pedestal with a triple Buddhist crown in the central section surrounded by scrolls, and a Buddhist lion in each side medallion. 58.5cm (23in) high

Footnotes

  • 十八世紀 銅鎏金十一面千手觀音立像

    Provenance: a German private collection, acquired circa 1975

    Illustrated: Oriental Art, Winter, 1975, Vol.XXI, no.4, p.310 (advertisement)

    來源:德國私人收藏,購於約1975年
    著錄:《Oriental Art》,冬季,1975年,冊XXI,編號4,頁310(廣告)

    Avalokitesvara embodies the compassion of all Buddhas, who vowed never to rest until all beings were freed from their cycle of re-incarnation. The present lot represents a particular aspect of this compassion, when the head of the bodhisattava splits into eleven pieces in his desperate struggle to comprehend the needs of so many people. The Amitabha Buddha, seeing his plight, gave Avalokitesvara eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokitesvara attempted to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that his two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, the Amitabha Buddha comes to his aid and invests him with a thousand arms with which to aid the suffering multitudes.

    The depth of compassion in the representation of the eleven-headed Avalokitesvara made it a popular subject for sculpture, but it is extremely rare to find a figure of such size and grace as the present lot. Another example of comparable quality and detailed finesse, also of large size but without the rows of small hands encircling the figure and dated to the 17th century, is illustrated by U.von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, no.124D.

    Compare also another figure of an eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara in the Qing Court Collection dated to the 18th century but smaller, illustrated in The Complete Treasures of the Palace Museum: Buddhist Statues of Tibet, Hong Kong, 2003, no.206.
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