A very rare grey limestone figure of Avalokiteshvara Tang Dynasty  (2)

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Lot 61
A very rare grey limestone figure of Avalokiteshvara
Tang Dynasty

£ 60,000 - 80,000
US$ 80,000 - 110,000
Amended
A very rare grey limestone figure of Avalokiteshvara
Tang Dynasty
The dignified deity powerfully modelled with serene countenance and downcast eyes, the hair neatly arranged into a chignon behind a small figure of Amitabha Buddha seated on a lotus pedestal, the poised figure clad in loose robes with drapery elegantly cascading in folds, wearing beaded jewellery decorated with scrolling motifs and suspending jewelled cords, backed by a circular halo surrounded by Buddhist deities and flanked at the feet by a pair of confronted Buddhist lions. 102.5cm (40 3/8in) high. (2).

Footnotes

  • 唐 石灰岩觀音菩薩背光坐像

    Provenance: Maria Luisa de Nieulant y Erro, Marquesa de Sotomayor y Condesa de Alba Real and her husband Alberto de Ribed y Adriani, Casa Alba Real, Spain, prior to 1948, and thence by descent

    來源: 1948年前為西班牙女侯爵Maria Luisa de Nieulant y Erro,及其夫Alberto de Ribed y Adriani收藏,並由後人保存迄今

    The present sculpture is remarkable for the sensuous carving and delicacy of detail. It would have almost certainly formed part of a larger Buddhist stele commissioned for installation in temples or monastic compounds, courtyards or rock-cave shrines. These type of objects were usually commissioned by families or groups of individuals hoping to accumulate karmic merit for themselves or their ancestors. According to Buddhist scriptures, such as the 'Lotus Sutra', compiled during the first century BC, accumulating merit by means of constructing devotional images, temples and shrines, would ensure one's rebirth in the wondrous land inhabited by the Buddha. Avalokiteshvara, the central figure depicted in the present sculpture, is recognisable by the small image of the Amitabha Buddha decorating the headdress. The deity was highly revered as an embodiment of the Compassion of the Buddha and incorporated in beliefs concerning the rebirth in the Pure Land of Amithaba from at least the 1st-2nd century AD. Worshipping Avalokiteshvara would have enabled one to visualise the blissful land of Amitabha, here suggested by the multiple depictions of Buddhas surrounding the halo of the bodhisattva, and finally attain enlightenment.

    The facial features of central figure in the present lot are comparable to those noted on a grey limestone head of Avalokiteshvara, Tang dynasty, included in the collection of the Louvre Museum, Paris, illustrated by O.Siren, Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century, London, 1970, pl.568. The powerful and muscular lions closely compare with a large stone lion, Tang dynasty, formerly in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which was sold at Christie's New York, 17 March 2015, lot 16.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the dating in the catalogue should read: Tang Dynasty or later.
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