Lot 108
  • 108

Importante statue de Guanyin en bronze doré Dynastie Ming, XVIE-XVIIE siècle

250,000 - 350,000 EUR
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  • Gilt-bronze
  • Haut. 89 cm avec socle; haut. 53 cm (Guanyin)
assise en dhyanasana, les mains en vitarka mudra, la gauche au-dessus de l'aine tenant un bol patra, la droite levée devant l'épaule pinçant entre deux doigts une tige de saule, vêtue d'une ample robe monastique aux bordures finement incisées de motifs floraux, le torse découvert paré de bijoux, le visage charnu en méditation flanqué de longs lobes d'oreilles percés de boucles rondes et surmonté d'une couronne ouvragée abritant une figure miniature du Bouddha Amitabha, les cheveux retenus en un haut chignon laissant tomber de longues mèches le long des épaules, le tout soutenu par une large base en bronze laquée or, semi-sphérique lotiforme à huit rangées de pétales entre deux petits lotus épanouis, surmontant une tige émergeant d'un piédestal hexagonal à balustrade (3)


Figure, lotus base and hexagonal stand are made separately and can be disassembled. The figure is in very good overall condition. It is heavily cast with very fine detailing to the robes and covered in a rich gilding. The end of one strand of hair falling over the figure's right shoulder has broken off and was reattached in the past. There are scattered filled-in casting flaws to the face, legs and back of the figure original to when the figure was made. Part of the rim of the small vessel held in the figure's left hand is shows signs of a casting flaw. There are traces of red pigment to some of the recessed parts of the face and mouth. The lotus base has the tip of one lotus leaf around the rim broken off and missing. The two attendant figures originally on the two smaller lotus flowers flanking the lotus base are missing. There is minor overall wear to the gilding and traces of lacquer gilding. The figure sits well within the confined outline of the lotus base. The hexagonal stand has some overall light wear to the gilding but is in overall good condition. The figure alone measures 51,5 cm and the stand 35 cm.
"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.

Catalogue Note

This gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin is impressive for its large size and crisp casting.According to the Lotus Sutra, Avalokitesvara can take any form necessary to save sentient beings. Thirty-three manifestations of Avalokitesvara are mentioned and are known to have been very popular in Chinese Buddhism as early as the Sui and Tang Dynasties. The present lot depicts the bodhisattva in the manifestation known as Bhaisajyaraja Avalokitesvara, known as the ‘Willowleaf’ Guanyin in Chinese. In this form the bodhisattva holds a vial or bowl of elixir in the left hand and a stalk of willow leaves in the right. The willow has evil dispelling properties and is used to sprinkle the elixir over devotees. The elixir is believed to cure all physical and spiritual illnesses, and this iconographic form was popular among devotees wishing for good health.

Buddhist gilt-bronze figures were produced in China almost from the beginning when Buddhism was embraced by various courts of China’s division after the Han dynasty (206BC – AD220). Until the Tang dynasty (607-906) however they remained very small. One of the earliest developments away from small votive images took place in the Khitan Liao dynasty (907-1125), when sculptures not only became bigger but also developed stylistically towards a more sculptural aesthetic. During the early Ming period the court took complete control of their production and a distinct classic style was devised that were determine the design of all future Chinese Buddhist gilt-bronze images such as the present.

Related gilt-bronze figures of Bhaisajyaraja Avalokitesvara of this large size include one sold at Christie’s New York, 21st November 1979, lot 410; another, but more elaborately bejewelled, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30th April 1995, lot 606A; and a third example sold at Christie’s London, 29th April 1981, lot 89. Compare also slightly smaller examples, such as one sold in our New York rooms, 1st December 1992, lot 196; and two further figures also sold in our New York rooms, 18th October 1990, lots 195 and 197.