Lot 118. A large limestone 'Longmen' head of a Bodhisattva Early Tang Dynasty, 7th century. Height 23 in., 58.5 cm Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD. Lot sold 992,500 USD. Photo Sotheby's
the elongated face sensitively carved conveying a serene expression, the eyes half-closed in contemplation above gently arched brows, the straight nose over the full lips, the hair drawn back and up in distinct braids and coiled on top into a high chignon, the stone a dark tone with mottling throughout.
Provenance: Collection of Arthur Wiesenberger (1896-1970) and thence by descent.
Exhibited: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, on loan, 1960s to June 21, 1973.
Note: The refined carving of the facial features, the high elaborate chignon and very earthly quality of this bodhisattva relate to several similar examples from the Longmen caves; one is in the Avery Brundage Collection, illustrated in Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculpture, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Japan, 1974, p. 222, no. 110. Other related sculptures are illustrated in Longmen liusan diaoxiang ji, Shanghai, 1993, pls. 72, 77 and 79. A closely related head of a bodhisattva of slightly small size was sold in these rooms 15th September 2010, lot 298.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, New York, 11 september 2012