Lot 315. A gilt-bronze figure of Maitreya, Ming dynasty, 16th century. Height 8 7/8 in., 22.6 cm. Estimate USD 30,000 — 50,000. Lot sold 187,500 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
the corpulent jovial figure cast seated and at ease, holding a small attribute in the proper left hand, the rotund belly protruding from a loosely draped robe with chased lotus meander borders secured at the waist with a tasseled belt, raised on a rounded cushion, supported on a floral scroll-decorated domed base, the reverse bearing a Tibetan inscription.
Provenance: The Chang Foundation Collection.
Literature: Jintongfo zaoxiang tulu/Buddhist Images in Gilt Metal, Taipei, 1993, pl. 24.
Note: The inscription in Tibetan script on the back of the base translates to 'He with everything in his left hand'. Typically, depictions of Budai Maitreya will show the god with a cloth sack that is filled with his worldly possessions. Despite poverty, his happiness is boundless and he is invariably depicted thus. The raised proper right hand of the present figure likely once held the top of a cloth sack, and the attribute in the opposite hand resembles a single jewel, symbolically his only possession.
Sotheby's. Bodies of Infinite Light Featuring an Important Collection of Buddhist Figures Formerly in the Collection of the Chang Foundation, New York, 10 Sep 2019.