A VERY RARE AND LARGE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN 16th/17th century

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Lot 27
A VERY RARE AND LARGE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN
16th/17th century

Sold for HK$ 4,377,500 (US$ 563,270) inc. premium
A VERY RARE AND LARGE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN
16th/17th century
The finely-cast goddess standing swaying to her right, her left hand gently resting on her right hand, both elegantly raised with her fingers beautifully coiled, her eyes downcast in meditative contemplation, her looping robe flowing down to her bare feet well inlaid along the hem with scrolling lotus flowers and ruyi-clouds, draped around the shoulders and open to reveal the chest with a beaded necklace with a ruyi-cloud pendant, on a domed base with layered and swirling clouds.
63cm (24 3/4in) high.

Footnotes

  • 十六/十七世紀 銅錯銀觀音立像

    Provenance:
    An Asian private collection

    來源:
    亞洲私人收藏

    The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no.N199a83 dated 27 January 1999, is consistent with the dating of this lot.

    牛津鑒定公司熱釋光檢測結果(1999年1月27日,編號N199a83)顯示年代與本拍品年代一致。


    The present bronze figure is an outstanding sculpture of its type in the extraordinary attention to detail and sculptural qualities. The Chinese mother goddess radiating grace and poise expresses much refinement in her elegant hands with a fine articulation in the wrist and fingers. The movement of her robes is enhanced by the naturalistically rendered folding and the fine silver-inlaid decorations along the hems. This famine appearance appeared to emerge in the early Tang dynasty, which can be supported by portraits of Guanyin by some early Tang artists. Wu Daozi (680–c. 760), one of masters of the 7th century, was known for his paintings of religious figures. Many of his works have been lost, but some of rubbings to his work incised on monuments survived. Comparing the rendering with a rubbing of a Guanyin by Wu Daozi in the Waseda University library (acc. no. 02 00197), Japan, an influence from the Tang dynasty to this Ming dynasty figure, is evident.

    According to the 'Lotus Sutra', the deity could take the form of any type of God, Buddha, King and Heavenly Guardian, and could appear in both male and female form, showing the bodhisattva's limitless transcendence beyond gender, in order to teach the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) to sentient beings. During the Ming dynasty, it was common belief that, in accordance with descriptions in the 'Avalokiteshvara' chapter of the Lotus Sutra and 'The 25 Great Ones' chapter of the 'Surangama Sutra', Guanyin could transform at will and appear in more than thirty human forms to expound Buddhist teaching. The compassion of the bodhisattva is expressed in the subtle gestures of this elegant figure, the mudras signifying the bestowal of charity and reassurance.

    Compare a large He Chaozong-marked silver-inlaid bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, which was sold at Bonhams London, 11 May 2017, lot 108, with closely-related features to the present lot, including the similarly rendered facial features despite the gender difference and the very similar execution of the silver inlay, such as the rather bold silver-wire and the similar scrolling lotus and clouds.

    Only a few bronze Guanyin figures of comparable size with similar hand gestures dated to the Ming dynasty seem to be recorded, each with slight variation in detail. See three smaller silver-inlaid bronze Guanyins, Ming dynasty, all inlaid with Shi Sou marks in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Classics of the Forbidden City: Guanyin in the Collection of The Palace Museum, Beijing, 2012, pls.43-45.

    For a related example of comparable size but of later date, see a large silver-wire-inlaid bronze standing figure of Guanyin, 18th/19th century, with two-character 'Shi sou' mark, which was sold at Bonhams London, 7 November 2013, lot 280; and another larger monumental silver-inlaid bronze standing Guanyin (104cm high), Qing dynasty, which was sold at Bonhams San Francisco, 13 December 2010, both with a more intricate silver inlay than the present figure.

    觀音銅質,頭罩風帽,髮髻飾以如意雲紋頭面,髮絲纖細而後梳,兩眉之間起白亳,秀鼻微挺連作雙眉,眉下杏目微張,櫻唇含笑,面容圓潤,開臉慈悲安詳,長袍外罩披肩,長袍緄邊皆錯銀,作連枝番蓮紋,披肩緄邊錯銀連枝靈芝紋,胸微袒露出如意鎖頭項鏈,長袍之下著長裙,裙身錯如意雲頭紋,右手結施依印,左手扶右腕,跣足立於雲頭雲座。

    觀世音菩薩,梵語:अवलोकितेश्वर,漢語音譯為「阿婆盧吉低舍婆羅」,意為「觀察世間音聲覺悟有情」,故稱觀世音菩薩,唐代避太宗李世民諱,民間多稱觀音菩薩。《妙法蓮華經》之《觀世音菩薩普門品》:「若有無量百千萬億眾生,受諸苦惱,聞是觀世音菩薩,一心稱名,觀世音菩薩即時觀其音聲,皆得解脫。」又說:「若有眾生,多於淫慾,常念恭敬觀世音菩薩,便得離欲。若多瞋恚,常念恭敬觀世音菩薩,便得離瞋。若多愚癡,常念恭敬觀世音菩薩,便得離癡。」

    唐代以前,觀音形象多為男性,玄宗之後開始有女相觀音。南海普陀山鎮海寺,也就是現在的普陀山法雨寺曾有唐代吳道子繪觀音像石刻,石雖不存,重摹拓本現存日本早稻田大學圖書館(館藏編號モ02 00197),其形象已經是女相。顯而易見,本件觀音之形象與吳道子所繪觀音之風帽、曹衣帶水之長袍、手印、跣足乃至腳底之雲頭,皆是一脈相承。

    明代觀音進一步世俗化,融合三教,功能眾多,形象多變,演化出各種觀音,如白衣觀音、送子觀音、魚籃觀音、引路觀音等等,然而其開臉多慈眉善目,充滿母性。明代觀音造像南方以福建為中心,鑄造、陶埏、石雕皆有之,名匠有石叟、何朝宗、楊玉璇等能手。不同材質的觀音像,開臉在同一時期皆高度相似,或為福建之地方傳統。即便男相神祇的開臉亦都透露出女性,和觀音開臉神似。如倫敦邦瀚斯2017年5月11日售出的一件何朝宗款銅錯銀觀音像,其開臉和本件觀音像如出一轍,其衣衫僅在錯銀花紋處略有出入,拍品編號108。

    如此體量的明代銅質觀音像存世極少,參考北京故宮藏一件明代石叟款錯銀觀音銅立像,大體風格一致,僅在細節處有區別,見《故宮經典:故宮觀音圖典》,北京,2012年,圖43-45。邦瀚斯倫敦2013年11月7日售出一件十八/十九世紀銅錯銀觀音立像,體量稍大,亦資參考,拍品編號280;三藩市邦瀚斯2010年12月13日亦曾售出一件高達104釐米的清代銅錯銀觀音立像,也可比較,拍品編號5151。
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A VERY RARE AND LARGE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN 16th/17th century
A VERY RARE AND LARGE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN 16th/17th century
A VERY RARE AND LARGE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN 16th/17th century
A VERY RARE AND LARGE SILVER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF GUANYIN 16th/17th century
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