Lot 379. A rare gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin, 10th-11th century; Height 11 in., 27.9 cm. Estimate 80,000 — 120,000 USD. Lot sold 298,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.
the graceful figure standing barefoot with hands in anjalimudra, the upright body adorned with jewelry, wearing a long robe with a hood pulled over the tall tiara and chignon, head slightly turned, the forehead set with an urna above the narrow eyes and broad nose.
Note: The slight turn of the head to the right of the present lot, indicates that it may have been an attendant figure, standing to left of a larger Buddha image along with another bodhisattva on the right.
The facial features of the present lot closely resemble those of figures dated variously to the Liao, Song and Five dynasties periods. See for example a figure of Guanyin dated to the Liao dynasty, illustrated in Hugo Munsterberg, Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, Tokyo, 1967, no. 56a; and another dated to the Five dynasties, illustrated in The Crucible of Compassion and Wisdom, Taipei, 1987, p. 195, pl. 90. The tiara of the present lot, with its height, foliate scrolls and raised knob on the center also appears to be related to these examples. In addition, the way the sash hangs from the belt and spreads out to touch the toes when it reaches the ground, is also similar in all these figures.
Some of these figures which used to be attributed to the Liao dynasty or Five dynasties periods are now generally recognized as being from the Dali kingdom. For example the figure of Buddha illustrated in The Crucible of Compassion and Wisdom, op. cit, pl. 89, whose face also closely resembles the present lot.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Works of Art New York, 17 march 2015, 02:00 PM