Lot 312
  • 312


50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Height 14 3/4  in., 37.4 cm
seated in vajraparyankasana, with the hands in abhaya and varada mudra, the shoulders flanked by a bird and a chilug ewer borne on blossoming lotuses from vines stemming from the hands, a small Amitabha figure enclosed within the elaborate, pierced crown, the ears and body heavily adorned with ornaments and jewels, all supported by a double-lotus base with pendent sashes


The Chang Foundation Collection.


Jintongfo zaoxiang tulu/Buddhist Images in Gilt Metal, Taipei, 1993, pl. 32.

Catalogue Note

The stylistic qualities of this figure of the 'God of Compassion' indicate that it was cast in the second half of the 15th century or 16th century. The rounded, full face was inherited from the prescribed Imperial 15th century outline seen in Xuande period figures, as does the shapely torso and detailed lotus base with pendent sash embellishment.  A Yongle mark and period gilt bronze figure of Maitreya with a chilug at the proper right shoulder, similarly supported by a lotus, was offered in these rooms, 21st September 2007, lot 34. A related bronze figure, dated by inscription to the Zhengde period, eleventh year, eleventh month, corresponding to 1516, with the same mudra and attributes but lacking the ewer and with a slightly different lotus base, was sold at Christie’s New York, 21st March 2000, lot 171. Compare as well a related gilt-lacquer figure, with the bird and ewer in opposite positions, and with a polychrome-lacquered base of similar casting to the present example, sold in our Paris rooms, 18th December 2012, lot 62. See closely related bronze figures, featuring the same mudra and attributes, one sold in these rooms, 26th February 1982 lot 271, another 28th February 1980, lot 7, and a third at Christie’s Hong Kong, 3rd November 1998, lot 1014. The chilug or spyi-blug ewer seen near the present figure's proper right shoulder is a traditional Tibetan vessel, related to the larger kundika flasks of the Tang dynasty pottery which are larger but bear a similar form and outline, as discussed in Wladimir Zwalf, Buddhism: Art and Faith, New York, 1985, p. 208. The chilug was used by monks as part of a cleansing ritual with water poured into the mouth and rinsed, and in the Ming dynasty, was recreated in cloisonne-enamel and decorated with lotuses and other Buddhist emblems. In this context, the vessel carries the same connotations of cleansing and purification. See a cloisonne-enamel example in the British Museum, attributed to the early 15th century, illustrated ibid., cat. no. 301, and another, illustrated in Ritual and Colour: Important Cloisonné Vessels from the Le Cong Tang Collection, Sotheby's Hong Kong, 2018, cat. no. 5. A Yongle mark and period gilt-bronze figure of Maitreya with a chilug at the proper right shoulder, similarly supported by a lotus, was offered in these rooms, 21st September 2007, lot 34.