Antique Large Guanyin on Lotus Throne, China (16211RKE)
H: 31.75” W: 11.25” D: 6.5” | CALL 213-568-3030 FOR SHIPPING
This extraordinary Guanyin originates from rural provincial less literate China. Not made in a sophisticated “imperial” style, its great charm depends on straightforward forms in bright and decorative color combinations. She sits on a backless throne resting on a lotus pedestal held up by a stem flanked by lotuses facing out in a casual royal ease pose (lalitsana) and her right hand is a relaxed vitarka mudra. Her oversized crown contains a framed Amitabha Buddha. Using vibrant unusual multi-colored color combinations, an informal sitting position, simplified, almost geometric shapes for the head and facial features and bright modest robes, she reflects a humble folk-art image very accessible to rural devotees. Its size indicates it was carved for a large home, clan or community temple.
The close association of the lotus and Guanyin (Sanskrit Padmapani meaning “born of the lotus,”) is depicted in this Guanyin image sitting on a flat, round open yellow lotus padmapitha pedestal held up by a stem flanked by red lotuses facing out in a folk-art tradition. As one of the Great Chinese Goddesses (Irvin), she was a cult figure during the late Ming and Qing dynasties in provincial regions, especially Southern China, where modest Guanyin images were made in less costly wood rather than more precious bronze, marble and stone. Local artisans created less formal images for less sophisticated populations by seamlessly blending Buddhist, Taoist and Popular Folk Religion elements to create a new, syncretic and more engaging humble genre. In a folk-art tradition in this antique-Chinese-wood-carving, her face framed by pendulous ears is more human and humble than idealized. Her splendid and oversized 5-lobed crown with articulated gold and rounded borders is centered with a deeply carved rustic Amitabha Buddha seated on a lotus in the central lobe surrounded by a pointed aureole common in Mahayana Pure Land images. Her lalitsana pose is relaxed with both legs bent and bare feet dangling above but not resting on the pedestal as is her less formal vitarka-mudra (teaching hand posiion). Provincial Buddhist-statues are a wonderful earthy blend of spiritual and folk-art ,but until recent times were viewed as lacking in artistic quality and not worthy of study or collected, a trend which is now enthusiastically reversed. Many sources including the Princeton University Art Museum have observed that pieces were sometimes repainted, redecorated and revitalized periodically often by Buddhist monks, probably the case for this piece which is in very good condition with expected paint and surface losses. The back cavity (bung) indicates it was consecrated.This is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Buddhist-Art.
Click here for the Blog Consecrating Wooden Images to Imbue Them with A Life Force
Lee Irwin, “Divinity and Salvation: The Great Goddesses of China,” in Asian Folklore Studies, Indiana University, Vol. 49, 1990, pp 53-68.
|Place of Origin||
Antique, Qing Dynasty
|Materials and Technique||
Ht: 31.75” W: 11.25” D: 6.5”
Ht: 80.64cm W: 28.57cm D: 16.51cm
Very good, see description
|Shipping Box Size|