3311
3311
A MAGNIFICENT, LARGE AND RARE AMBER FIGURE OF GUANYIN
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
1,000,0001,500,000
LOT SOLD. 1,250,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
3311
A MAGNIFICENT, LARGE AND RARE AMBER FIGURE OF GUANYIN
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
1,000,0001,500,000
LOT SOLD. 1,250,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Jades, Ambers and Hardstones from a Distinguished Connoisseur

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Hong Kong

A MAGNIFICENT, LARGE AND RARE AMBER FIGURE OF GUANYIN
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
standing with the hands folded before her belly, wearing long billowing robes hemmed with incised borders and further embellished by beaded tassels on the lower body, the bare chest adorned with a ruyi necklace and beaded tassels, the serene face with downcast eyes and a gentle smile, below neatly plaited hair gathered into a high chignon draped over by a hood, all supported on a bed of swirling clouds, the amber of a translucent honey-brown tone
23.5 cm, 9 1/4  in.
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Provenance

Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19th November 1986, lot 319.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 30th October 1991, lot 337.

Catalogue Note

This figure is striking for the exceptional size and vivid colour of the amber, which has been sensitively modelled in the round to reveal the spirituality of the deity. Carved from a type of amber known in Chinese as hupo, the present figure is distinctive for its attractive translucent honey-brown tone and brilliant gem-like quality. Amber figure carvings of this impressive size are extremely rare; see a slightly smaller figure of Buddha sold in these rooms, 17th May 1989, lot 391; and a much smaller set of the Eight Immortals, from the Kitson collection, sold in our London rooms, 18th October 2016, lot 54.

Carvings of Guanyin fashioned from amber are recorded to have furnished imperials halls during the Qianlong period. According to the Qinggong chenshedang [Archive of decoration and display of the Qing court], a hupo figure of Guanyin was presented as tribute by a Ministry Councillor on the 8th day of the 4th month of the 9th year of Qianlong (corresponding to 1744), which was then placed in the Main Hall on the Waixi road of the Inner Court on the 29th day of the 9th month of the 34th year of his reign (corresponding to 1769).

The art of amber carving reached its zenith during the 18th century, when a vast range of objects was produced at both the Imperial workshops located in the Forbidden City and select ateliers in Suzhou. A fossilised tree resin, amber was a rare and highly treasured material which appealed not only for its attractive natural hues but also for the beneficial properties it was believed to possess, such as self-healing, transmuting negative energy into positive, as well as being effective for detoxification.

Known as the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy, Guanyin could take as many as thirty-three forms in order aid all sentient beings before entering Buddhahood. With her standing on waves and her hands crossed in front of her waist, this figure represents the deity in her Non-Duality form, possessing the ability to protect all Buddhas from unwholesome forces. Guanyin figures were more commonly produced in jades, see two figures in the Palace Museum, Beijing, the first carved from a spinach-green pebble, illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji fenlei. Zhongguo yuqi quanji. 6. Qing [Complete collection of Chinese arts. Compendium of Chinese Jade, vol. 6: Qing], Shijiazhuang, 1993, pl. 336, and the other, in celadon jade, published in Gugong bowuyuan wenwu cangpin daxi. Yuqi juan/Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Jade, vol. 10: Qing, Beijing, 2011, pl. 243.

Important Jades, Ambers and Hardstones from a Distinguished Connoisseur

|
Hong Kong