PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF JOAN OESTREICH KEND
See a closely related example from the Yamanaka collection, sold in our New York rooms, 14th-16th June 1944, lot 651; and a further figure sold at Nagel Auctions, Germany, 30th October 2013, lot 48.
A related figure belonging to this group, reputedly from the Imperial Palace, was included in the Exhibition of Chinese Arts, Messrs. C.T. Loo & Co., New York, 1941, cat. no. 750. For a smaller and less elaborately decorated figure, see a pair illustrated in Qingdai ciqi shangjian [Appreciation of Qing dynasty ceramics], Hong Kong, 1994, pl. 232. Other examples sold at auction include an impressive Qianlong period famille-rose figure of Amitayus, sold twice in our Hong Kong rooms, 29th October 2001, lot 606, and again, 8th April 2013, lot 3055; a figure of Guanyin, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 29th April 2002, lot 705; a White Tara sold at Christie’s New York, 18th September 2003, lot 371; and a further figure of a seated Amitayus, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 28th May 2014, lot 3465. A rare famille-rose lama, inscribed to the base and dated to the 47th year of Qianlong (1782), was sold at Christie’s New York, 18th/19th September 2014, lot 967.
Known as Dayuan Dizang Pusa in China, Ksitigarbha is the supreme leader of the underworld. He vowed to take responsibility for the instruction of all beings in the six worlds and not achieve Buddhahood unless all hells were emptied. While in earlier eras he was depicted as a traditional bodhisattva, by the Song dynasty he was usually represented as a Buddhist monk dressed in monastic robes and holding a wish-fulfilling jewel (cintamani), as seen in the present examples. He was also shown holding a staff, which was used to alert insects and small animals of his approach so that he would not accidentally cause harm. His image is similar to that of the fictional version of Xuanzang (or Tang Sanzang) from the Chinese classical novel Journey to the West, so observers sometimes would misattribute them.
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