A rare gilt-bronze seated figure of Shakyamuni Buddha Northern Qi – Sui dynasty | 北齊至隋 鎏金銅釋迦牟尼佛坐像
A rare gilt-bronze seated figure of Shakyamuni Buddha
Northern Qi – Sui dynasty
depicted seated cross-legged in dhyanaasana atop a richly draped plinth with double lotus ring, the facial expression beautifully conveying peaceful meditation, with the right hand held in abhaya mudra, clad in a pleated robe that is draped over the Buddha’s left arm, with his left hand resting on his left knee grasping a section of the robe, the head domed with an ushnisha, with hair in neatly arranged coils
h. 13.6 cm
The figure is preserved in very good condition, with just a minor crack at the reverse, where the missing mandorla would have rested against the back. Some rubbing to the gilding, typical oxidisation and general surface wear.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Takashi Yanagi, Kyoto, April 2007.
Saburo Matsubara, Chūgoku Bukkyō chōkokushi kenkyū: tokuni kondōbutsu oyobi sekkutsu zōzō igai no sekibutsu ni tsuite no ronkō
[On the history of Chinese Buddhist sculptures: Special discussion on gilt-bronzes and stone sculptures outside of caves], Kyoto, 1966, p. 215.
Seiko Murata, Sho Ko
ndobutsu / The Charm of the Little Bronze Buddha
, Tokyo, 2004, cat. no. 64.
Leopold Swergold, Tho
ughts on Chinese Buddhist Gilt Bronzes
, Aventura, 2014, cat. no. 12.
Beatrice Chan, 'Reflection and Enlightenment: Chinese Buddhist Gilt Bronzes from the Jane and Leopold Swergold Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston',
Arts of Asia,
January/February 2018, pp. 58-65.
松原三郎，《中國佛敎彫刻史研究 : 特に金銅仏及び石窟造像以外の石仏に就いての論考》，京都，1966年，頁215
村田靖子，《小金銅仏の魅力 : 中国・韓半島・日本》，東京，2004年，編號64
Leopold Swergold，《Thoughts on Chinese Buddhist Gilt Bronzes》，2014年，圖版12
Beatrice Chan，〈Reflection and Enlightenment: Chinese Buddhist Gilt Bronzes from the Jane and Leopold Swergold Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston〉，《Arts of Asia》，2018年1至2月，頁58-65
Reflection and Enlightenment: Chinese Buddhist Gilt Bronzes from the Jane and Leopold Swergold Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2017-2018.
《Reflection and Enlightenment: Chinese Buddhist Gilt Bronzes from the Jane and Leopold Swergold Collection》，休士頓美術館，休士頓，2017-2018年
This rare figure, first published by the renowned Japanese scholar Saburo Matsubara in 1966, depicts Shakyamuni Buddha seated in dhyanasana on an elaborate hexagonal base with double lotus ring. His expression is beautifully conveyed in serene meditation. His robe, covering both shoulders, is draped over his left arm, with his left hand shown holding a section of the robe, resting on his left knee. Stylistically, the figure can be attributed to the Northern Qi or early Sui dynasty.
The Northern Qi dynasty was one of the most vibrant periods in the history of Chinese art, both religious and secular, as its openness towards foreigners, their ideas, beliefs and goods immensely enriched the local cultural climate. It was within this cosmopolitan climate that Buddhist sculpture experienced perhaps its most glorious moment. While in the Northern Wei dynasty, manners of depiction were adapted from traditional South and Central Asian prototypes, by the Northern Qi they had matured and developed into distinctive native styles. However they still emanate the seriousness of strong religious beliefs, which were rooted in the political instability of the mid-6th century, and had not yet moved towards the pleasant and more decorative imagery of the Tang dynasty. The refined native style of the Northern Qi can be seen on the sinicised facial features of the current sculpture, and the powerfully articulated feature of the hand clasping the robe.
The distinct hexagonal waisted pedestal, so skilfully modelled on the current sculpture, first emerged in the Northern Zhou dynasties. Similar depictions of hexagonal pedestals can be seen in wall paintings of the Sui dynasty in the Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, caves 244, 393, 394 and 419.