A very rare and large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai 17th century (2)

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Lot 11
A very rare and large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai
17th century

Sold for HK$ 6,100,000 (US$ 777,094) inc. premium
A very rare and large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai
17th century
Finely cast, the goddess gracefully seated in royal ease with her left hand supporting a small boy on her lap and the other hand holding prayer beads, wearing an elegantly pleated robe with chased floral decoration to the edges and open at the chest to reveal an elaborate beaded necklace, the face with a serene expression adorned with two large earrings and a crown enclosing the figure of Amitabha Buddha, the wood stand carved as a double-lotus pedestal. 50cm (19 5/8in) high (2).

Footnotes

  • 十七世紀 銅鎏金觀音及善財童子像

    It is very rare to find a gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, together with Shancai, the Child of Wealth, of such remarkable size and exceptional quality. The present lot is an outstanding sculpture of its type in the extraordinary attention to detail and sculptural qualities. The intimate relationship between the two figures is beautifully depicted in the gentle clasping of hands and tender gaze of the goddess at the boy. The robes of both figures fall and fold naturalistically with the hems finely incised, enhancing the gilt surface. The rattle held by the boy is mirrored by the prayer bead necklace held by the goddess. A sculpture of such impressive size and refinement would have been specially commissioned for private worship or as a gift to a favoured temple.

    Shancai is the Chinese interpretation of Sudhana, who is the protagonist in the next-to-last and longest chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra. The connection between Shancai and Guanyin is well established in the The Complete Tale of Guanyin and the Southern Seas, which was completed in the 16th century. In this tale Shancai was described as a disabled boy from India who was passionate about the Buddha's teachings and journeyed to Mount Putuo to learn from the bodhisattva. However, the depiction of both can be seen in earlier periods, as demonstrated on a Yuan dynasty hanging scroll, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, museum no.GH001957.

    Compare related gilt-bronze figures of Guanyin, but without attendants; see a slightly larger gilt-bronze figure of a seated Guanyin holding a scroll, 17th century, which was sold at Christie's London, 8 November 2016, lot 114; see also another one of similar size to the present lot, which was sold at Christie's London, 10 May 2016, lot 16; and compare another slightly smaller gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin with the right hand holding a willow, 17th century, which was sold at Sotheby's London, 14 May 2014, lot 88.

    此尊觀音體量碩大,金彩流麗整潔,成色極佳,面容溫婉慈和,陽剛及陰柔並存。面向圓潤,雙眼微合,目光下斂,表情和悅,睿智深沉。觀音頭戴髮箍,正面飾阿彌陀佛,身著通肩大衣,衣紋厚重寫實,衣緣處鏨纏枝花卉,胸前裝瓔珞,屈膝而坐,身前坐善財童子,右手持鞀鼓,左手被觀音一手托起,刻畫寫實,意趣盎然。

    漢以後,佛教初傳入中土,漸漸出現鎏金銅像等佛教藝作。至唐一朝,造像仍相對較小巧,及至遼代,契丹入主中原,較大型的佛教造像才逐漸出現,與此同時,造像風格漸趨簡約。明初,朝廷大興工藝事業,鎏金佛像風格別開生面,技藝登峰造極,成就空前,為後朝奠定佛像經典,至明中晚期,佛教造像藝術風格向漢傳佛教回歸的同時,依然保留藏傳造像的影響,此時的漢藏風格融為一體,使漢地佛教造像風格得到進一步發展。此尊觀音便是明中晚期少數鑄造精美造像中罕見一例。

    明代小說《南海觀音全傳》中就已經有對觀音菩薩及善財童子的描寫,善財童子在《華嚴經·入法界品》中被描述為修菩薩道行者的榜樣。《法華經普門品》中也記載:「欲求男。禮拜供養觀世音菩薩。便生福德智慧之男。設欲求女。便生端正有相之女」,因此觀音菩薩懷抱幼童作為造像的藝術形制後來在漢地中原便被稱為「送子觀音」。現藏台北國立故宮博物院的「元趙奕畫大士像」也出現了觀音及善財童子的形象,館藏編號故-畫-001957。而此尊觀音善財童子像,在明代中晚期佛教造像藝術中則極為少見。

    此尊送子觀音鑄造精良,結構勻稱,雕刻亦細緻入微,為明代中晚期漢地觀音造像經典難得之作。傳世品中,目前暫未見其他帶有善財童子的觀音造像,獨立的觀音造像,可見原Kierulff舊藏一件十七世紀銅鎏金觀音坐像,後於倫敦佳士得售出,2016年11月8日,拍品編號114;另又一例,尺寸相比此尊送子觀音較小,售於倫敦佳士得,2016年5月10日,拍品編號16;另見倫敦蘇富比曾售出十七世紀銅鎏金柳葉觀音坐像,2014年5月14日,拍品編號88。
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A very rare and large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai 17th century (2)
A very rare and large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai 17th century (2)
A very rare and large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai 17th century (2)
A very rare and large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai 17th century (2)
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