A small early gilt-bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, Sixteen Kingdoms period (304–439)

Lot 801. A small early gilt-bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, Sixteen Kingdoms period (304–439); 3 1/8 in. (8 cm.) high. Estimate USD 5,000 - USD 7,000Price realised USD 17,500© Christie's Images Ltd 2017

The figure is shown seated in dhyanasana on a lion throne, and wears a square shawl that is draped around the body. A small attachment tab projects from the back of the head, wood stand.

ProvenancePrivate collection, Japan, acquired prior to 1930.

NoteThis figure belongs to a specific group of small sculptures of Shakyamuni Buddha made for personal devotion that found popularity during the fourth to fifth centuries in China. They are some of the earliest free-standing representations of Buddha made in China, and point to the direct spread of Buddhism from India into China.

Christie's. Treasures of the Noble Path: Early Buddhist Art from Japanese Collections, 14 September 2017, New York