Lot 1145. Three small gilt-bronze figures of bodhisattvas, Sui-Northern Song dynasty, 6th-12th century; 5, 5¼, 6½ and 3 5/8 in. (12.7, 13.3, 16.5 and 9.2 cm.) high. Estimate USD 10,000 - USD 15,000. Price realised USD 40,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013

One is a slender, graceful figure standing in a tribhangha pose on top of a lotus stem, with a bottle pendent from the right hand and a willow branch held in the left at the shoulder. The head is backed by a separate openwork flame-form mandorla. One is shown standing atop a lotus base holding a willow branch at the right shoulder and a bottle pendent from the left hand. The figure wears long beaded chains gathered at the waist and a tripartite crown hung with ribbons. A pierced tab protrudes from the back of the head. The third is a rare figure of the bodhisattva Wenshu shown seated in lilasana in front of a separate flame-form mandorla atop a lotus platform that rises from the back of a lion striding with head turned to the side. Together with a small bronze figure of a bodhisattva, Sui dynasty, standing on a lotus base with right hand raised in abhaya mudra and left in varada mudra, and with a flame-form mandorla behind the head, one wood stand.

ProvenanceFirst three: Yamanaka & Co., Inc. Oriental Art, Part 2; Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 14-16 June 1944, lot 493 (part).
All: Raymond Austin Bidwell, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1954.
The Springfield Museums, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1962.

Exhibited: First bodhisattva and figure of Wenshu seated on lion: Yamanaka & Co., New York, Collection of Chinese and Other Far Eastern Art, 1943, nos. 104 and 86 respectively.

Note: The gilt-bronze figure of Wenshu seated on a striding lion is similar to one dated to the Northern Song dynasty illustrated in Zhongguo wenwu jinghua daquan - qingtongjuan, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 370, no. 1328, which no longer has a mandorla and appears to have lost most of its gilding.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of ArtNew York21 - 22 March 2013