A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin  Northern Song/Jin Dynasty

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Lot 50
A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin
Northern Song/Jin Dynasty

Sold for £ 93,812 (US$ 121,311) inc. premium
Property from the Collection of John J. Studzinski, CBE
大英帝國司令勳章受勳者John J. Studzinski珍藏
A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin
Northern Song/Jin Dynasty
The Goddess of Mercy seated in the posture of rajalilasana or 'royal ease' on a rock and wave base representing Mount Potalaka, leaning on her left arm with her head inclined to the right, the right hand holding a loop of drapery, the left foot resting on a small lotus pod, the serene face with contemplative expression beneath braided hair centrally parted and dressed in a three-looped top-knot pushed through a diadem with tresses of hair falling gracefully over each shoulder, her layered dhoti clinging to the legs and forming deep folds, adorned with elaborate jewellery, with areas of pigment still visible. 57cm (22 1/2in) high.

Footnotes

  • 北宋/金 木雕自在觀音像

    Provenance: Gualino Collection, Rome
    Eskenazi Ltd., London, 19 March 1998
    John J. Studzinski, CBE

    來源:意大利羅馬,Gualino舊藏
    英國倫敦古董商,Eskenazi Ltd.,1998年3月19日
    大英帝國司令勳章受勳者John J. Studzinski珍藏

    Published and Illustrated: Eskenazi Ltd., Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, London, 1997, no.13, and illustrated on the inside front cover

    出版著錄:英國倫敦,Eskenazi Ltd.,《Chinese Buddhist Sculpture》,1997年,編號13;並刊登於圖錄封面內頁

    Seated in the pose of 'royal ease', the deity probably depicts the Water-Moon Guanyin, an iconography derived from Tang dynasty paintings.

    According to the 'Lotus Sutra', Guanyin can take any form necessary to save sentient beings, and mentions thirty-three form which the deity could take, of which seven were female. The figure's sensual curves however, evoke a distinctly feminine feel, and by the Ming dynasty, Guanyin was usually depicted in a feminine form.

    Guanyin images seated in the relaxed position of royal ease are referred to as zizai Guanyin, literally meaning Guanyin at ease. When such figures are placed in a grotto or seated on a rocky platform, they reference the Water Moon Guanyin, who sits by the water's edge contemplating the reflection of the moon in the water and recognising the illusory nature of all phenomena, gently smiles at the humans, who grasp for the reflection of the moon mistaking it for reality.

    A similar figure of Guanyin is in the collection of the British Museum, London, and illustrated by Hai-wai yi-chen; Buddhist Sculpture, vol. 1, Taipei, 1986; and another similar figure in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is illustrated by D.Patry Leidy and D.Strahan, Wisdom Embodied, New York, 2010, p.180, no.A44; pl.133. Like the present lot, the example in the Metropolitan Museum which is dated Northern Song dynasty, is of almost the same size and has a similar necklace, armbands, bracelets, attire and facial expression. A similar wood sculpture of Guanyin is in the Denver Art Museum, illustrated by D.Jenkins, Masterworks in Wood: China and Japan, New York, 1976, no.10. See also H.Trubner, The Arts of the T'ang Dynasty, Los Angeles, 1957, no.57;and R.L.Thorp and V.Bower, Spirit and Ritual: The Morse Collection of Ancient Chinese Art, New York, 1982, no.59.

    A similarly-posed wood Guanyin, Song dynasty, was sold at Bonhams New York, 9 September 2019, lot 853; another wood example of a seated Guanyin, Song dynasty, was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 31 May 2010, lot 1957. 
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A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin  Northern Song/Jin Dynasty
A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin  Northern Song/Jin Dynasty
A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin  Northern Song/Jin Dynasty
A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin  Northern Song/Jin Dynasty
A very rare carved wood figure of Guanyin  Northern Song/Jin Dynasty
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