A CARVED WOOD FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA Song/Jin dynasty

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Lot 853
A CARVED WOOD FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA
Song/Jin dynasty

Sold for US$ 175,075 inc. premium
A CARVED WOOD FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA
Song/Jin dynasty
The deity portrayed in the relaxed posture of lalitasana with the left leg pendant and the right arm gracefully resting atop the bent right knee, the left arm straight and appearing to support the weight of the figure to the left, the serene face with fleshy cheeks flanking the straight nose and well-formed lips, beneath a pair of downcast eyes, the forehead with a circular depression meant to receive an inlaid urna, the hair divided into strands, with two knotted strands falling over the shoulders and the remainder swept up and secured into a tall topknot, the soft, fleshy upper body bare except for a long sash draped over the left shoulder, the layered dhoti tied at the waist falling in graceful folds around the lower body, the figure adorned with necklace, armbands, bracelets and beaded chains, the back of the figure cut with a rectangular chamber to hold consecrated materials, the surfaces with traces of pigments.
48 1/2in (123cm) high

Footnotes

  • 宋/金 木雕自在觀音像

    Provenance:
    Sotheby's New York, 22 September 2004, lot 32

    來源:
    紐約蘇富比,2004年9月22日,拍品編號32

    The bodhisattva represented by the present figure is likely a representation of Guanyin. An identifying characteristic of Guanyin is the figure of Amitabha that appears in the bodhisattva's headdress. In this case the removable headdress is missing, but there are extant Song dynasty Guanyin figures with intact headdresses in similar poses, such as the examples illustrated in Angela Falco Howard, Li Song, et. al., Chinese Sculpture, Yale Univeristy Press, 2006, pp. 384-385, nos. 4.26 and 4.27.

    According to the Lotus Sutra Guanyin can take any form necessary to save sentient beings. Thirty-three forms are mentioned, of which seven are female. The name Guanyin is a translation of the Sanskrit name Avalokiteśvara, and the bodhisattva was originally depicted in male form, as in the present example, where the figure is dressed essentially in the attire of a male Brahmin, a throwback to Buddhism's Indian origins. 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 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 recognizing 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 in Hai-wai yi-chen: Buddhist Sculpture I, Taipei, 1986; and another similar figure in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is illustrated by Denise Patry Leidy and Donna 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 similarly-posed wood Guanyin from the Song dynasty was offered at Christie's Hong Kong, 31 May 2010, lot 1957. 
Contacts
A CARVED WOOD FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA Song/Jin dynasty
A CARVED WOOD FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA Song/Jin dynasty
A CARVED WOOD FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA Song/Jin dynasty
A CARVED WOOD FIGURE OF A BODHISATTVA Song/Jin dynasty
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