cast as a manifestation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva Padmapani depicted standing sturdily against a flame-shaped mandorla bordered with flames on a domed base supported on a four-legged plinth, the majestic figure depicted bending his right elbow and holding a long undulating stem extending upward and bearing a large lotus bud, clad in a dhoti cascading in folds over the knees with a long scarf draped over the shoulders and upper arms, the left hand rendered holding one billowing end of the scarf, the serene expression framed by a crown and a circular halo of radiating petals on the mandorla, the reverse of the mandorla incised with a Buddha seated on a lotus base against a mandorla, the splayed right side and reverse of the plinth with a dedicatory inscription dated to the twentieth day of the eleventh month of the second year of the Wuding period (in accordance with 544), which can be translated as 'Guo Shantan from Quyang patronising a figure'.
Collection of Sato Gengen (1888-1963).
Good overall condition. The gilding is very well preserved. Minor surface wear and minute bruises to the edges.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This rare inscribed gilt-bronze figure of Padmapani emanates from the Eastern Wei dynasty, which ruled northern China from 534 to 550 after the disintegration of the Northern Wei. The gradual evolution of style through the 5th and 6th centuries can be observed by comparing the treatment of this figure, dated to 544, to the larger Northern Wei Padmapani in this collection, lot 3203
, dated to 470. Although it still retains strong stylistic influences from India, the treatment of the Eastern Wei Padmapani has become much more sinicised, with less distinct Gandharan influences on key features of the sculpture, such as the drapery. The Northern Wei figure still retained the graceful curvilinear form of the body, derived from the Indian tradition, with lithe body, swaying hips and gently tilted head, but the current figure stands tall and straight. It is an extremely fine sculpture, with an intricately incised design of the Buddha on the reverse.
A gilt-bronze figure of Padmapani, dated to 543, in the Tokyo National Museum, is illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 117. See also an Eastern Wei gilt-bronze figure of Maitreya, dated to 536, formerly in the collection of Duanfang and now in the collection of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, C355, illustrated by Osvald Siren, Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century, New York, 1925, pl. 158.