An extremely rare large inscribed bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha Western Wei dynasty, dated 539 | 西魏大統五年 銅釋迦牟尼佛坐像
5,000,000 - 7,000,000 HKD
5,000,000 - 7,000,000 HKD
An extremely rare large inscribed bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha
Western Wei dynasty, dated 539
crisply cast depicting Shakyamuni Buddha seated in virasana atop a waisted Sumeru throne raised on a four-legged pedestal, the downcast gaze evoking a peaceful and meditative state, the upward curling edges of the Buddha’s mouth make a soft smile, creating an air of joy and fulfilment, the right hand held in abhaya mudra and the left hand in varada mudra, the intricately articulated robes framed by thick seams and depicted covering the Buddha’s shoulders with hems cascading over the top of the throne, the inscription running along the pedestal recording how the Monk Huile of Yongchuan Temple commissioned the sculpture
大統五年歲在己未六月癸未朔二日甲申永川寺比丘惠樂造 釋迦牟尼像一區 仰為皇帝陛下七世所主因緣 眷屬法界眾生 住靜佛□□銅有身
h. 28.2 cm
The figure is preserved with very good condition with just light oxidisation, insignificant chips to the pedestal and general surface wear.
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Nakanishi Bunzo, Kyoto.
James Freeman, Kyoto.
Collection of Norman Kurland.
Eskenazi Ltd., London.
Norman Kurland 收藏
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001.
Six Dynasties Art from the Norman A. Kurland Collection: Part One, Eskenazi Ltd., London, 2017, cat. no. 26.
《Six Dynasties Art from the Norman A. Kurland Collection: Part One》，埃斯卡納齊，倫敦，2017年，編號26
This important and unusually large inscribed votive bronze sculpture is one of only three known dated examples from the Western Wei dynasty. Only two of them are known aside from the Swergold example: one dated to the first year of the Datong reign, now at the Tianjin Museum, illustrated in Saburo Matsubara, A History of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, Tokyo, 1995, pl. 297c, the other dated to the fifth year of Datong, now at the Art Institute of Chicago, illustrated Matsubara, ibid., pl. 296. It depicts Shakyamuni Buddha seated in virasana on a waisted Sumeru throne raised on a four-legged pedestal. The right hand is held in abhaya mudra and the left hand in varada mudra. The intricately articulated robe covers the shoulders and falls in waves over the body and the front of the throne, the dynamism of the fabric's numerous folds alluding to the magnanimous energy within the divine sitter. This sculpture is a superb work of art which testifies to the enduring influence of Northern Wei (386-534) visual traditions on Western Wei (535-557) artistic practices, displaying a more exaggerated version of the Northern Wei style, with the body engulfed by cascading drapery laid out symmetrically. Cast in the fifth year of the latter dynasty, the superbly cast sculpture presents the iconic sculptural form of pointed cascading drapery and tied sash that is considered a more distinct sinicised style that occurs in the early sixth century at the Longmen Cave temples opened by the Northern Wei. This more sinicised style is first seen in Yungang Cave temples in the 490s, Cave 5, 6, as illustrated in Zhongguo meishu guanji: Diaosu bian 10: Yungang shiku diaoke zhongguo [Complete works of Chinese Art, Sculpture, vol. 10: Yungang cave temple carvings]. Beijing, 1988, pp. 32-71. A similar depiction of a seated Buddha in stone, dated to 540, is illustrated in Matsubara, op cit., pl. 259B.
The inscription on the base records that the present sculpture was commissioned by Monk Huile of the Yongchuan Temple. It may be translated as:
"On the second day of the sixth month of the jiwei year, the fifth year of Datong (corresponding to 539), Monk Huile of Yongchuan Temple commissioned this image of Shakyamuni Buddha in the hope that the Emperor, seven generations of ancestors, all relatives and all sentient beings in this world might live serenely in the Buddhist universe".