CHINA - Period of the SONG Dynasty (960-1279)
Exceptional Guanyin, known as "Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara", sitting in a meditation position.
Large bronze subject with black patina, formerly gilded (traces remaining on the back). Probably formerly placed on a base, hollow inside, small lacks of original cast iron.
Mid 11th century, period of the Northern Song Dynasty.
H. 51,5 cm
Guanyin is presented here in a meditation position, sitting "in lotus", his legs bent and hidden under his ample monastic garment falling quite widely forward. The thumb and forefinger of his right hand join together to form the gesture of protection against evil spirits and thoughts, while his left hand presents a rock crystal ball, symbol of wealth.
His face with drooping cheeks presents an imposing aspect, the severity of which is attenuated by the softness of the facial features. The ears with elongated lobes complete the classic Song physiognomy, while the simple headdress and the particular shape of the face show an original stylistic influence from the Liao or Tang dynasties, typical of the Kaifeng style of dress.
The centre of his forehead is inlaid with a rock crystal ball representing the Urna, the Buddhist "third eye", whose spiritual symbolism can be interpreted here in the choice of this stone, which is particularly important in Chinese culture. Its representation can also be found in ornamental jewellery, notably the bust necklace and earrings, where the Urna appears in a circle of stylized lotus petals.
- Collection of the artist Marcel Avril (1887-1944), painter of the group Témoignage and father of the painter Armand Avril.
- By descent, private collection, Lyon.
Goddess of mercy and compassion, Guanyin became under the Song Dynasty the most frequently represented Buddhist deity in sculpture, the object of a particularly important popular devotion.
The rare representations of Guanyin dating from the Song period are mainly in polychrome wood, often in a position of royal relaxation. Bronze examples are much less common: our work, which is particularly important for its dimensions, stylistic properties and exceptional quality of execution and conservation, is a rare and precious testimony to this, whose initial assignment to a prestigious temple is beyond doubt.
This lot is subject to prior registration with deposit.
Lot visible in Paris by appointment: +33 (0)1 58 40 82 92