A rare gilt-bronze figure of Laojun, Tang dynasty

唐 鎏金銅老君坐像


A rare gilt-bronze figure of Laojun
Tang dynasty
唐 鎏金銅老君坐像

Height 3¾ in., 9.7 cm.

Nagatani Inc., Chicago, 2nd November 1953.
Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).
Sotheby's New York, 10th September 2019, lot 209.

Nagatani Inc.,芝加哥,1953年11月2日
史蒂芬 • 瓊肯三世(1978年逝)收藏

This extremely rare figure, cast seated cross-legged on an octagonal base holding a fan, with a small scholar’s cap and pointed beard, appears to depict Laojun or Daode Tianzun (Celestial Worthy of the Way and Its Virtue), one of the three highest gods in the Daoist pantheon. Two similar gilt-bronze Daoist figures from the Tang dynasty, each modeled with the same full beard, hat and three-legged armrest, are illustrated in Saburo Matsubara, Chinese Buddhist Sculpture. A Study Based on Bronze and Stone Statues other than from Cave Temples, Tokyo, 1966, p. 312, figs. c and d. See also a stone figure of Laozi, similarly depicted and also holding a fan, attributed to the Tang dynasty, in the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, exhibited in Taoism and the Arts of China, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2000, cat. no. 39.