A stone head of Guanyin Ming Dynasty
Lot 381
A stone head of Guanyin
Ming Dynasty
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 27,384) inc. premium

Lot Details
A stone head of Guanyin
Ming Dynasty
The soft grey-coloured stone carved as the serene Goddess with eyes downcast beneath elegantly arching brows below a circular urna, the head crowned with curling hair piled into a topknot and encircled by a high-peaked Buddhist tiara, the central peak containing a carved figure of the Amitabha Buddha seated in dhyanasana on a lotus pedestal, fixed stand.
38cm (15in) high

Footnotes

  • Provenance: purchased from William Clayton Ltd., London, on 21st October 1969
    A Scottish private collection

    Guanyin is the popular feminised form of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and is one of the Buddhist deities most favoured in China for sculptural and pictographic representation. Guanyin is frequently depicted with a small figure of the Amitabha Buddha in her tiara; her compassion is particularly evident in her serene but kind smile, symbolising her role as an enlightened being who has nevertheless chosen to delay entering Nirvana in order to stay on earth and help others to achieve enlightenment.

    The head is carved from a soft-toned grey stone, characterised by small darker grey grains which give an attractive textured, flecked appearance. Compare a similar stone head with a related ornate crown illustrated by W.Percival Yetts, The George Eumorfopoulos Collection Catalogue of Chinese and Corean Bronzes, Sculptures, Jades, Jewellery and Miscellaneous Objects, vol.3, London, 1932, col.pl.LXXII, no.C.114, where it is noted that the character meaning Buddha is crudely incised on the headdress and that it probably replaces a figure of the Amitabha Buddha which had been earlier cut away.

    Compare also a related stone head but with a polychrome lacquered headband sold at Sotheby's Paris, 18 December 2012, lot 42.
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