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Lot 0085
East Asia, China, Eastern Wei or Northern Qi Dynasty, ca. mid 6th century CE. A fascinating limestone sculpture of the bodhisattva Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara), "The Lord Who Gazes Down At The World." This bodhisattva can be portrayed as both male or female and is believed to embody the compassion of all Buddhas. Skillfully carved with a tremendous amount of detail, the figure stands, his face serene, his body draped in elaborately-formed clothing and jewelry. He wears an ornate crown with a lotus flower at its center. A large, round halo is behind his head and upper body. A hollow on his exposed forearm suggests that he once had removable hands. Two small projections from the sides of his skirt would have once been another decorative feature. Size: 6.35" W x 16.25" H (16.1 cm x 41.3 cm); 20.65" H (52.5 cm) on included custom stand.

This figure is sculpted to wear a multi-chained pearl cabochon necklace/harness that meets at his waist; this style was inspired by artistic conventions in Central Asia, while his robes and face are clearly native Chinese. Northern Qi artwork is seen as a revival of Chinese art following the invasions of the 4th century; increasing trade along the Silk Road brought influences from the west which created new styles of artistic expression.

See a similar sculpture at the Met: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/42718

Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex prominent American collection

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Part of halo is lost, as shown. Hands and arms below elbows are lost. Lower part of body (ankles and down) is also also, as are the flourishes at the sides. The halo has been repaired from two or three large pieces, but the repairs are unobtrusive and only visible from the back of the piece. Beautiful deposits and root marks on surface, with fine remaining detail.

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Chinese Wei / Qi Carved Stone Bodhisattva Guanyin

Estimate $5,000 - $7,500Feb 15, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA