54
54

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF LADY DEANA PITCAIRN DUNCAN

A RARE POLYCHROME WOOD AND GESSO FIGURE OF MAUDGALYAYANA
SONG / YUAN DYNASTY
Estimation
180 000220 000
Lot. Vendu 905,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
54

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF LADY DEANA PITCAIRN DUNCAN

A RARE POLYCHROME WOOD AND GESSO FIGURE OF MAUDGALYAYANA
SONG / YUAN DYNASTY
Estimation
180 000220 000
Lot. Vendu 905,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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New York

A RARE POLYCHROME WOOD AND GESSO FIGURE OF MAUDGALYAYANA
SONG / YUAN DYNASTY
wearing kasaya comprised of outer and inner robes with voluminous folds that drape elegantly around the outstretched hands and over the knees and down around the shoes, the monk's head well-carved with eyes downcast, wearing a serene and contemplative expression, the figure resting squarely on an elaborate rockwork throne, all with traces of polychrome and intricate gesso design
Height 55 1/2  in., 140 cm
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Provenance

Yamanaka and Co., Kyoto, 1923.
Collection of Reverend Theodore Pitcairn (1893-1973), Philadelphia and thence by descent.

Exposition

On Loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Description

While traveling on missionary work in Asia in 1922, Theodore Pitcairn, son of John Pitcairn (1841-1916) the founder of the very famous and successful Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, was able to acquire through the famed Yamanaka Gallery, two wood sculptures of luohan belonging originally to a larger set of sixteen or eighteen figures.  The present example which still retains its original 'rockwork' base remained in the family collection, the other was sold in 1944 to Jan Kleijkamp and Ellis Monroe, New York, and illustrated in their name in Alfred Salmony, Chinese Sculpture, Han to Sung, 1944, pl. XXVIII where the author notes that the sculpture had been previously published while in the Pitcairn collection in Osvald Siren, History of Chinese Art, London, 1930, vol. III, pl. 122. This figure is currently in the Santa Barbara Museum and illustrated in Santa Barbara Museum of Art Selected Works, Santa Barbara, 1991, pp. 94-5, no. 119 as a gift of Ina T. Campbell.

Theodore Pitcairn refers directly to the present sculpture in a letter written to his brother Raymond in 1922. He begins with the comment, "I spent nearly the whole of Thursday with Mr. Yamanaka and managed to spend over $21,000" He then describes his purchases and concludes rather boldly, "I believe in the matter of sculpture, I have a finer Chinese collection although smaller than any Museum in America." He writes of the present sculpture, "While the wooden figure is much earlier and more primitive than the famous Boston wood figure and is not like it decked in brilliant colors, I am sure that you will feel that it belongs to a higher plane of art and will like it better. I was told that the Boston Museum paid $50,000 for it.  I feel quite sure I would not exchange." The Boston Museum of Fine Art's superb wood, polychrome and gilt sculpture of Guanyin, dated to the Jin Dynasty, was acquired for exactly that amount in 1920 from Yamanaka and is illustrated in Jan Fontein and Pratapaditya Pal, Museum of Fine Arts Boston Oriental Art, Greenwich, Connecticut, 1969, no. 64.

A related wood and gesso carving of a monk of similar size was sold in these room 31st March 2005, lot 96 and a smaller example of a seated figure was also sold in these room 22nd March 2011, lot 268. A group of seventeen arhat of smaller size and less refined quality is illustrated in The Splendour of Buddhist Statuaries, Chinese Buddhist Wooden Sculpture from Sung to Yuan Dynasties, National Museum of History, Taipei 1997, pp. 64-99. 

  

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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New York