J.J. Lally & Co., Oriental Art / New York City, New York

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Current Exhibition

Buddhist Sculpture from Ancient China

March 10-31, 2017

A PAIR OF PAINTED LIMESTONE FIGURES OF BODHISATTVAS
15.
A PAIR OF PAINTED LIMESTONE FIGURES OF BODHISATTVAS

Tang Dynasty, 8th Century

the tall slender deities each shown standing in a graceful swaying tribhanga pose on a waisted pedestal carved with lotus petals and lappets, leaning slightly towards one another, wearing a dhoti tied at the waist and a shawl draped over the shoulders with long ends trailing down to the bare feet, the hair coiled into a high topknot bound by a simple band and adorned with jewelry, the faces well carved with delicate features in quiet contemplative expressions, one bodhisattva with a lotus bud in the right hand held down at the hip, the other with left hand down at the side holding a vase supporting a stem of lotus curling up the arm, carved from dark gray limestone showing extensive remains of original red and green pigment and traces of gilding applied over white gesso.

Heights 24 78 inches (63 cm) and 24 12 inches (62 cm)

The two figures may be identified as Avalokitesvara (Guanyin), the bodhisattva of compassion, holding the vase, and Mahasthamaprapta (Dashizhi), the bodhisattva of wisdom, holding the lotus bud. In the imagery of Pure Land Buddhism, which flourished in China in the 8th century, these two bodhisattvas frequently are shown standing on either side of the Buddha as his divine attendants in the Western Paradise.

A similar pair of Tang stone bodhisattvas from the Grenville Winthrop Collection is illustrated by Sirén, Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century, Vol. III, London, 1925, pl. 372A-B; and a larger pair, in the University Museum, Philadelphia, is illustrated by Sirén, op. cit., pl. 378A-B. Another similar pair of Tang stone bodhisattvas in the National Museum of History, Taipei is illustrated by Howard, Chinese Buddhist Sculpture from the Wei through the T’ang Dynasties, Taipei, 1983, pp. 150-151, no. 22.

Three Tang dynasty stone relief carvings from the Hayasaki Collection, each showing a triad of the Buddha with the bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta standing on either side, and each bearing an inscription including an early 8th century date, are illustrated by Sirén, op. cit., pl. 396A-B and pl. 397.

唐 青石彩繪脇侍菩薩一對 高 63 和 62 厘米

15.
A PAIR OF PAINTED LIMESTONE FIGURES OF BODHISATTVAS

Tang Dynasty, 8th Century

Heights 24 78 inches (63 cm) and 24 12 inches (62 cm)

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