A LARGE AND IMPORTANT MING DYNASTY POLYCHROME-LACQUERED WOOD FIGURE OF GUANYIN
Wood and lacquer
China, Ming Dynasty, dated to the Dingmao year, corresponding to 1567 or 1627
The bodhisattva seated on leaf covered rockwork in Rajalilasana, the posture of 'royal ease', supported on a raised knee in Vitarka mudra. The deity wearing a voluminous robe falling in soft pleats gathered at the base, revealing the bare chest adorned with a tiered, beaded necklace. The hair drawn up in a high chignon and secured by a foliate crown enclosing an image of Amitabha Buddha. The hems of the garment, the crown, the waist belt, all show intricate high relief floral ornaments. A subtle gold decor coats the entire surface of her gown.
Intricately carved with elaborate jewelry and heavy falling robes, the sculptor of this figure of Guanyin has skillfully captured the warmth of the deity in the gentle smile, while her half-closed eyes convey a state of deep contemplation. The gilding and ornamental decoration are evidence of the original sumptuousness and striking visual effect this sculpture would have made on temple visitors, who would have encountered it in an elaborate, almost stage-like setting. As it was believed that anyone who recited Guanyin's name during times of distress would be rescued by her, she is the most worshipped deity in Buddhism and has therefore been frequently depicted in three-dimensional form.
The back bears an inscription with the dating to the Dingmao year (either 1567 or 1627) and with a sealed and consecrated cavity.
Shape: Figural shape
Dimensions: 62 cm (height)
Condition: Good condition consistent with the age of the sculpture, some age cracks, material loss mainly at the rockwork, few small reattachments
Provenance: Francesco Maria, Marchese Taliani de Marchio (1887 - 1968), Grand Officer of the Italian Crown and his wife Archduchess Maragaretha d'Austria Toscana (1894 - 1986)
Marchese Taliani was a distinguished Italian diplomat and a devoted art collector. Sent to China in 1938 as Ambassador to the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai-shek in Nanjing, he became an eye-witness of the Second Sino-Japanese War, during which the Japanese forces captured the capital and attacked Shanghai. When Mussolini recognized Wang Jingwei's Japanese puppet government, Taliani presented his credentials to him. On 8 September 1943, having refused to swear allegiance to the Italian Social Republic (Republic of SalÃ²), he and his wife were arrested and interned by the Japanese in a concentration camp near Shanghai, where they remained for two years until the end of the war. After the end of hostilities, the new government of Alcide De Gasperi reconfirmed him as Ambassador to China until 1946.
A number of masterpieces of classical Chinese furniture in the Taliani collection have been published by the eminent scholar Dr. Gustav Ecke in his seminal book about Chinese Domestic Furniture, Beijing, 1944.
Literature comparison: Sotheby's, IMPORTANT CHINESE ART, 13 SEPTEMBER 2016 - 14 SEPTEMBER 2016, NEW YORK, lot 169 (for a larger gilt-lacquered wood figure of Guanyin, dating to the 17th / 18th century) or Christie's, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 9 November 2010, London, lot 69 (for a polychrome lacquered wood figure of Guanyin, larger in size and dating to the 14th / 15th century.
尺寸：高 62 cm
弗蘭切斯科âˆ™瑪利亞âˆ™塔里安尼âˆ™德âˆ™馬其歐 Francesco Maria， Marchese Taliani de Marchio (1887 - 1968)， 意大利皇宮大大將軍及他的妻子瑪格麗塔奧地利托斯卡納大公Maragaretha d'Austria Toscana (1894 - 1986)
弗蘭切斯科âˆ™瑪利亞âˆ™塔里安尼âˆ™德âˆ™馬其歐 是一位傑出的意大利外交官和一位忠實的藝術收藏家。 1938年被作為意大利在蔣介石國民政府南京時期的大使送到中國，他成為第二次抗日戰爭的目擊者，日本軍隊在這次戰爭中佔領南京並襲擊上海。當墨索里尼承認汪精衛的日本傀儡政府時，Taliani向他提交了他的印信。 1943年9月8日，他拒絕發誓效忠意大利社會共和國（薩洛共和國），他和他的妻子被日本人逮捕並在上海附近的一個集中營拘留，他們在那里呆了兩年，直到戰爭結束。二戰結束後，阿爾西德德加斯佩爾新政府再次確認他為駐華大使直到1946年。
塔里安尼收藏的一系列古典中國家具曾於1944年被著名學者古斯塔夫âˆ™埃克博士Dr. Gustav Ecke收錄于其關於中國家庭家具的開創性著作中。
文獻參考：蘇富比《重要中國藝術》，2016年9月13-14日，紐約，169號拍品 (一件更大些的十七至十八世紀鎏金漆木雕觀音)或佳士得《中國精美陶瓷與工藝品》，2010年11月9日，倫敦，69號拍品 (十四至十五世紀的木胎髹漆觀音)