A bamboo figure of Pindola taming the tiger Mid Ming dynasty, 16th century
Lot 326
A rare bamboo figure of Pindola taming the tiger Mid Ming dynasty
Sold for HK$ 680,000 (US$ 87,724) inc. premium
Lot Details
A rare bamboo figure of Pindola taming the tiger
Mid Ming dynasty
The superbly carved figure depicted seated on a ferocious beast with right leg pendant and left leg folded at the back, his left arm depicted supporting and soothing the beast by stroking the top of its head, his right arm depicted holding the undulating folds of his garment, his body slightly leaning forward with bald head turned right, his joyous face with a brilliant smile flanked by a pair of pendulous earlobes, adorned in loose flowing robes tied with a sash at the waist, swung over his left shoulders revealing bare chest and right arm, all surmounted above the tamed creature in recumbent position, its large eyes and whiskers framed by a large face resting atop its frontal paws, its finely carved striped body terminating in an upward extended tail with coiled end.
14cm high.

Footnotes

  • This boldly carved sculpture with exaggerated design of the tiger represents an early style of the yuandiao, or 'carved in the round' bamboo carving technique from the sixteenth century onwards. Compare a bamboo figure of Liuhai on a Toad, preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and dated to the seventeenth century, where the 'cartoonish' design of the toad is reminiscent of the current figure. See also another bamboo figure of Pindola depicted taming the tiger dated to the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century, previously gifted by Ellen Barker in 1942 (Accession Number 42.90.37) (fig.1).

    Pindola is also known as the Fuhu Arhat in the Chinese context. According to the Qing dynasty document midian zhulin xubian, also known as the Imperially Endorsed Sequel to the Treasured Cases of Art in the Palaces, it is recorded that the Qianlong Emperor designated the Fuhu to be the 18th luohan under the advice of Changkya Khutukhtu, the spiritual head of the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism during the Qing dynasty.

    Early textual records of Chinese bamboo carving show that the techniques of low relief, high relief and hair-like incisions were practised by bamboo carvers long before the Ming period, though examples predating the Ming dynasty are scarce. From the 16th century onwards, there were more devoted and skilful artisans who attained full mastery of the art, especially in the yuandiao carving technique to make bamboo figures.

    明中期 竹雕伏虎羅漢像

    取竹子地下莖,圓雕伏虎羅漢。羅漢斜批闊袖長袍,坦露右肩,左手撫虎頭,右手輕提長袍,單腳騎一臥虎之上。老虎頭部匍於前爪之上,濃眉大眼,憨態可掬,形象誇張,虎尾緊貼羅漢背部,壺身花紋亦作雕刻。

    此器刀工渾厚洗練,不拘小節,老虎形象設計誇張,頗具早期竹雕雕刻之風,類似一例可見紐約大都會美術博物館藏一件十七世紀竹根圓雕劉海戲蟾像,隨劉海雕刻刀工發展已更為嫻熟,其蟾蜍誇張的形象於本器類似,葉義、譚志成編,《中國竹刻藝術•上冊》,香港藝術館,1978年,頁137,編號5。同見大都會美術博物館中藏另一件竹雕伏虎羅漢像(博物館編號42.90.37),其時代被定為十八世紀/十九世紀早期,羅漢雕刻亦更加細緻,但其老虎形象亦與本器相類(fig.1)。

    伏虎羅漢,又名賓頭盧尊者,然而在清代文獻《秘殿珠林續編》中,乾隆曾親自提頌十八羅漢中最後一尊彌勒尊者為伏虎羅漢,並由國師章嘉呼圖克圖考定,如此繼而相傳。

    明代以前竹雕作品未見傳世品,但通過文獻記載可知竹刻家已懂得使用淺浮雕、高浮雕甚至「留青」工藝來刻竹。直到明代中葉以後,專業竹刻及喜好竹刻的文人日益增加,尤其在嘉定和金陵地區,而利用竹根圓雕所製竹器的名家便應運而生。
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