Lot 1306. A rare bronze group of Guanyin, Long Nu and Shan Cai, Ming dynasty, 16th century. The largest 16 7/8 in. (42.9 cm.) high. Estimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000. Price realised USD 25,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2010.

With Guanyin seated atop a large horned mythical beast raised on a lotus base, her right arm resting on her raised right knee, holding in both hands the long, winding stems of lotus flowers supporting an elixir bottle and a bird, her hair pulled up into a tall chignon behind the tiered crown set with an image of Sakyamuni, flanked by two smaller bronze figures of the disciple Long Nu holding aloft the pearl of light, and the attendant Shan Cai, standing atop a lotus pedestal with hands clasped in front.

NoteThe arrangement of Guanyin, Long Nu and Shan Cai was developed from the tale of Long Nu and the Dragon King. According to legend, one of the sons of the Dragon King was caught by a fisherman while in the form of a fish. Guanyin immediately dispatched her attendant Shan Cai to rescue the son and return him to the sea. As a reward, the Dragon King sent Long Nu to present Guanyin with the Pearl of Light. However, Long Nu was so strongly impressed by Guanyin that she asked to become her disciple, and was accepted providing that she become the keeper of the Pearl, which the present figure is shown holding. 

Christie'sFine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, 26 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza