The simulation of materials using porcelain was particularly popular during the 18th century, as it provided the opportunity for potters to display their creative proficiency in the medium while satisfying the Qianlong emperor's taste for the novel. It is rare to find gilded figures of Avalokitesvara of this very fine and naturalistic sculptural depiction. Avalokitesvara, the spiritual son of Amitabha, personifies the compassion of all Buddhas and is one of the most popular deities in the Mahayana or Northern Buddhist Pantheon and is the object of much veneration in Tibet. Two closely related examples were sold in these rooms, 10th April 2006, lot 1743, and the other, 30th April 1991, lot 138; and a third figure was sold at Christie's New York, 1st December 1983, lot 526.
Compare a similar figure attributed to the Qianlong period, but depicted kneeling on one knee, published in I.L. Legeza, A Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Malcolm MacDonald Collection of Chinese Ceramics, London, 1972, pl. CXLI, no. 384; and a pair sold at Christie's New York, 24th- 25th March 2011, lot 1748. For a seated figure of Buddha, see one in the Nanjing Museum, Nanjing, published in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p. 322.
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