PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF BUDDHIST FIGURES FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF THE CHANG FOUNDATION
The uniform depictions of Ksitigarbha are particularly interesting when contrasted with the evolution of the iconography of Avalokiteshvara, another bodhisattva fully embraced by Chinese Buddhist practitioners. Both deities have origin stories within Chinese mythology that include a young maiden, however, out of the two deities, only Avalokiteshvara has ever been depicted in relation to such an image. The sinicization, gender transformation, and multiple emanations of Avalokiteshvara even within the Mahayana practice are numerous, and are perhaps manifestations of the universal appeal of an endlessly compassionate deity, in contrast to the perhaps intimidating and daunting vow of Ksitigarbha (for discussion of the sutra of Ksitibarbha, see lot 304 in this sale).
Compare a closely related gilt-bronze figure of Vairocana, with a similar crown, jewelry, flanking ribbons, and wan symbol inscribed on the chest, attributed to the Ming period, from an English private collection and sold in our London rooms 8th November 2017, lot 69, and another of similar casting and design, sold at Christie’s New York, 15th September 2011, lot 1383. Compare as well a gilt-bronze figure of Ksitigarbha, also with a similar crown and embellishments, attributed to the Ming dynasty, sold at Christie’s New York, 15th May 2018, lot 166.
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