A GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF AVALOKITESHVARA
SUI - EARLY TANG DYNASTY
standing with a slight curve to the hip in a subtle contrapposto, crowned with a large diadem centered by a figure of Amitabha, with sashes, a long necklace, and flowing robes draped about the body, a bottle in the lowered hand, the other raised and holding a willow branch, all raised on a lotus pedestal further supported by a faceted base, an integral tall, peaked, pierced mandorla behind the figure, mounted to a modern base, Japanese wood box (4)
Height 4½ in., 11.2 cm
There is an approx. 0.6 x 0.8 cm original casting hole to the back of the pedestal. Otherwise, the figure is in overall good condition with some minor expected wear to the surface and gilt commensurate with age.
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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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
The iconography of the present figure, bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara with a willow branch, can be linked to the importance placed on the the Dharani Sutra of Invoking Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to Dissipate and Subdue Poison and Harm (Qing Guanshiyin Pusa xiaofu duhai tuoluoni zhoujing), first translated from Sanskrit to Chinese by Zhu Nanti of the Eastern Jin dynasty, in which Buddha directs ailing disciples to offer Avalokiteshvara willow branches and clean water in order to receive his great mercy.
Compare a similar figure, dated 595, raised on a quadruped stand and holding a cintamani in place of the willow, in the British Museum, London, illustrated in Hugo Munsterberg, Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, Tokyo, 1967, pl. 49. Two other related gilt-bronze figures of Avalokiteshvara with pierced mandorlas and similar bases, both attributed to the Sui period, are illustrated in Saburo Matsubara, Chinese Buddhist Sculpture: A study based on bronze and stone statues other than works from cave temples, Tokyo, 1966, pls 204 e-f. Another related figure, previously in the collection of William L. Parker, was sold in these rooms, 11th May 1978, lot 27.