A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty
Lot 8076W
A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin
Late Ming dynasty
Sold for US$ 173,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin Late Ming dynasty
A large and very rare gilt lacquered bronze figure of Guanyin
Late Ming dynasty
Seated in dhyanasana on a double lotus pedestal, the bodhisattva is shown in an esoteric form with three faces and six arms, grasping in its hands the sun, the moon, a vajra, and a bell, with the two primary hands joined together in the namaskara mudra, each of the three heads wearing an elaborate five-point crown, the surfaces covered with extensive remains of gilt-lacquer.
28in (71cm) high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private Collection, New York, acquired between 1960 and 1995

    Guanyin, the embodiment of universal compassion, could take many forms in Buddhist art of the Ming period. The deity most often appears in bronze as a single majestic figure enveloped in a cloak and seated in meditation on a lotus base, as illustrated and discussed by Denise Patry Leidy in Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010, p.22 and p., 183, A56 and A57. Painted images of the divinity in female form were included in the 1994 exhibition Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism 850-1850, cat. nos. 46-49. Similar images were also included in the exhibition by organized by Li Yumin, Guanyin te zhan (Visions of Compassion: Images of Guanyin in Chinese Art), at the National Palace Museum, Taibei, in 2000.

    The present figure is of a much rarer type: an esoteric manifestation of Guanyin with One Thousand Arms and One Thousand Hands (Qianshou Qianyan Guanyin), here cast with six arms and three heads beneath a five-pointed crown filled with images of the Buddha. One fine and large Ming period example preserved in the Seattle Art Museum displays eleven heads and multiple arms (see Hugo Musterberg, Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, New York, 1988, fig.71 and discussed, p. 71, 83.8cm high.) Of smaller size but equally impressive is the gilt bronze Guanyin with forty-two arms and three heads surmounted by a crown surrounding a single Buddha head, included in the 1987 exhibition, The Crucible of Compassion and Wisdom: special exhibition catalog of the Buddhist bronzes from the Nitta Group Collection at the National Palace Museum, plate 112, 35.2cm high. Another gilt bronze Guanyin with forty-eight arms and multiple heads, similar to the Nitta Group Guanyin, was sold in Sotheby's Hong Kong sale 0358, 8 April 2011, lot 3047, 52cm high, as 16th century. Also of interest is the six-armed figure with three heads, identified as Vairocana, sold in Sotheby's London sale, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 6 June 1995, lot 91, 48.5cm high, as 16th/17th century.

    Depictions of the three-headed Guanyin with eight arms appear among the forty-two illustration in a gilt-painted album transcribing the Guanyin chapter from the Lotus Sutra and Heart Sutra, dated Xuande seventh year (1432), in the National Palace Museum, Taibei: see Guanyin te zhan (Visions of Compassion: Images of Guanyin in Chinese Art), 2000, pp 120-145, especially pp. 120 and 135 and p. 124. See also the three-headed Guanyin with eight arms seated on a lotus, painted on south wall of Cave 168 in the Binglingsi cave complex, Gansu province (see Binglingsi shiku, 1983, plate 88, as Ming period).
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