Lot 848. A rare well-carved white marble figure of a pensive bodhisattva, Sui dynasty (AD 581-618); 8 ¼ in. (21 cm.) high. Estimate 60,000 - USD 80,000. Price realised USD 68,750. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.

The bodhisattva is shown seated in a pensive pose, with the right leg drawn up to support his elbow and the left hand holding a sacred petal-shaped object. The body is draped with long bead necklaces, and the head is backed by a lotus-form aureole with floral scroll border, hongmu stand, Japanese wood box

ProvenanceIn Japan prior to 1995.
Kochukyo, Tokyo, 2006.

Literature: Matsubara Saburo, Chugoku Chokokushi ron (The Path of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture), Tokyo, vol. 2, 1995, pl. 532b.

NoteThis finely carved white marble figure represents a pensive, or contemplative, bodhisattva, termed Banjia Siwei Pusa Xiang in Chinese. This posture originates in the Gandharan region during the Kushan period, and was first introduced to China during the fifth and sixth centuries. This type of pensive bodhisattva image, shown with one-leg-crossed, is usually identified as Maitreya, and became a very popular representation from the second quarter of the fifth century into the Sui period. A slightly larger carved stone pensive bodhisattva dated Northern Zhou (AD 557-581) is illustrated by S. Mizuno, Chugoku Ho Chokoku (Bronze and stone sculpture of China: from the Yin to the Tang dynasty), Tokyo, 1960, p. 64. See, also, p. 65, for a similar carved marble pensive bodhisattva with a lotus-form aureole dated Northern Qi (AD 550-577) in the Freer Gallery of Art. Two seated stone bodhisattva with similar expressions and of comparable size, dated Sui dynasty (AD 581-618), are in the Shanghai Museum and the Eisei Bunko Museum, both illustrated by Matsubara Saburo, Chugoku Chokokushi ron (The Path of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture), Tokyo, vol. 2, 1995, pl. 532a and c.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 13 September 2019