A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha Qing Dynasty

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Lot 346* W
A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha
Qing Dynasty

Sold for £ 242,500 (US$ 335,370) inc. premium
A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha
Qing Dynasty
Heavily moulded standing with thick overlapping draped robes falling in symmetrical loops at the bare feet, the left hand outstetched formerly holding an object on a rectangular base, the right hand open and lowered in varada mudra, an eternity symbol moulded on the bare chest and each wrist encircled by a double bracelet, the surface densely and brightly gilt covering the whole front of the figure, the back with the central area principally covered with a thin brown iridescent lacquer left ungilt, stand.
155cm (61 in) high (2).

Footnotes

  • 清 漆金瓷釋迦牟尼佛大立像

    The present lot is extremely rare both in its grand size and medium of porcelain, demonstrating a very high degree of technical accomplishment. The imposing yet benign figure figure was almost certainly designed to be worshiped in a temple. It would have been placed in a niche, explaining the use of the gilt lacquer on the front and sides, revealing the porcelain at the back, which would have remained unexposed to the worshiper.

    Though porcelain figures of this immense size are very rare, related examples of large religious sculpture in clay can still be seen today in temples such as Dahui Temple in Beijing, and Shuanglin Temple in Pingyao; see A.Falco Howard, et al. Chinese Sculpture, New Haven, 2006, pp.426-440. See also a large pottery head and shoulders of Guanyin, 43cm high, illustrated by R.L.Hobson, The Wares of the Ming Dynasty, London, 1923, pl.58.

    The technical challenges of successfully firing a figure of such size and the likely failure in firing would have made figures such as the present lot particularly costly to produce and further emphasises their rarity. A porcelain statue of this size would have had to be fired in sections fitted together accurately, underlining the technical accomplishment and outstanding feat of craftsmanship demonstrated in the present lot. The lacquering and gilding therefore would have a two-fold purpose: enhancing the visual splendour of Buddha, whilst concealing the luting lines.

    The figure itself is similar to blanc-de-chine figures of Buddha. See for example in R.H.Blumenfield, Blanc de Chine: The Great Porcelain of Dehua, Toronto, 2002, p.57, pls.A and B (63.5cm and 58.5cm high respectively). Compare also figures of Guanyin, illustrated by P.J.Donnelly, Blanc de Chine, New York, 1967, pls.81a and 81b (87.6cm and 90.2cm high respectively).

    此尊頭飾螺髮,頭頂肉髻高隆,眉間嵌白毫,雙眼下垂,微含笑意,神態慈祥。着通肩式廣袖袈裟,衣褶紋輕重緩急,自然垂落。右手施與願印,左手施禪定印。正面與側面施漆金,整體造型寫實傳神,烘托出釋迦佛神聖莊嚴的神韻。此類體積高大、造型線條流暢的瓷製大佛像,所需技術極為複雜,必須以有如鬼斧神工的工藝手法方能完成,至今傳世實屬鳳毛鱗角。

    此尊大佛只有正面和側面施金,從而可判斷出此像曾為廟宇受供奉的佛像,置於廟裡的佛龕中,因此參拜者只會看到佛像的正面及側面。此類瓷製大佛像極其罕見,但一些相關的陶製大型宗教造像的例子至今仍能在北京大慧寺及平遙雙林寺看到,見2006年紐黑文出版A.Falco Howard等著《Chinese Sculpture》,頁426-440;亦可參考一件陶製觀音上半身的大型造像,43厘米高,見1923年倫敦出版R.L.Hobson著《The Wares of the Ming Dynasty》,圖版58。

    正如以上所提出,要生產出這類型的大型造像,其燒製技術難度非常高,也極其昂貴和容易毀壞,燒製過程有可能需要分開不同部份來製作。所採用的漆金工藝一方面從視覺上突顯佛像尊貴的形象,另一邊廂亦可隱藏粘合的部分。由於製作過程極為複雜,所以這類型的造像並不常見,從而表現出此拍品的彌足珍貴。

    此拍品亦可與德化白瓷佛像作比較,見2002年多倫多出版R.H.Blumenfield著《Blanc de Chine: The Great Porcelain of Dehua》,頁57,圖版A和B(分別為63.5厘米及58.5厘米高)。也可參考兩件觀音造像,見1967年紐約出版P.J.Donnelly著《Blanc de Chine》,圖版81 a和 b(分別為87.6厘米及90.2厘米)。
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A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha Qing Dynasty
A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha Qing Dynasty
A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha Qing Dynasty
A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha Qing Dynasty
A very rare monumental gilt-lacquer porcelain figure of Buddha Qing Dynasty
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