A rare painted pottery figure of a boy, Song dynasty (960–1279)

Lot 601. A rare painted pottery figure of a boy, Song dynasty (960–1279). Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.

naturalistically modeled, the softly rounded figure seated with legs outstretched, arms down at the sides with hands clenched in opposing directions, a raised line below the neck indicate the now-abraded presence of a foliate-painted apron, the plump-cheeked face with finely-articulated features, alert open eyes, and the mouth drawn up in a contented half smile, adorned with bracelets to both wrists and an amulet around the neck, traces of white slip and pigment. Height 11 3/4  in., 30 cm

ProvenanceGerman Private Collection, 1950s.
Raimann & Raimann, Weisbaden, Germany, 2010.

NoteThe present figure is exceptional for the deft quality of the modeling. A seated pottery figure of a young boy, also perhaps depicting the infant Buddha, of similar scale,  with hands raised, one holding a peach, was offered in these rooms 21st September 2005, lot 60. Similar smaller pottery of depictions of boys with finely drawn features and somewhat elongated heads, are known, see a group of seven painted pottery figures, from a tomb dated to 1113 CE, excavated in Zhejiang city, Jiangsu province, Zhejiang City Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji, diaosubian, vol. 5, Beijing, 1988, pl. 173.

A gilt-lacquered wood figure of a seated boy, of similar proportions, attributed to the Song / Jin Dynasty is illustrated and discussed in The Immortals of the Past, Kaikodo Journal, Spring 2014, Kaikodo, New York, cat. no. 56.
Representations of the seated infant Buddha are rare. A bronze example of an infant Buddha in meditation pose was sold in our London rooms 5th November 2008, lot 105
Images of the infant Buddha cast in bronze standing and pointing up to the sky are more commonly found; see several examples included in the exhibition The Casting of Religion. A Special Exhibition of Mr. Peng Kai-dong's Donation, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2004, cat. nos 178-185. 

The dating of this lot is consistent with the result of a thermoluminescence test, Oxford Authentication Ltd., sample no. C205m5, 16th December 2005. 

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 14 Mar 2017, 10:30 AM