A marble head of bodhisattva, Tang Dynasty | 唐 大理石菩薩首像
A marble head of bodhisattva
finely carved in the round, the face with downturned eyes and delicate lips framed by gracefully arched eyebrows, flanked by a pair of pendulous earlobes, below a dense upswept coiffure, the fine locks of hair carefully articulated, mounted on a stand
Height of head 5 in., 12.7 cm
There are scattered small losses throughout, including to the chin, earlobes, nose and hair (as illustrated), and to the ushnisha. Small loss to the proper left eyebrow and eyelid have been infilled. Two drill holes to the back of the head.
For more information on and additional videos for this lot, please contact Randi.Yiu@sothebys.com.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Eskenazi Ltd., London, 20th August 1999.
The fleshy face, almond-shaped eyes with lowered lids, and arched brows that elegantly curve to the bridge of the nose on the present sculpture are characteristic of Buddhist sculpture of the Tang dynasty. The high quality marble and the ability of the artist to capture the figure's inner serenity are further testament to the period of manufacture, when the Buddhist faith flourished and adherents spent lavishly on devotional works of the highest caliber. The faint smile and partially-open eyes invite a deep spiritual connection between the bodhisattva and the devotee, and encourage the worshiper to pursue the path towards enlightenment and salvation.
For examples of other Tang dynasty stone bodhisattva heads of comparable quality and slender proportions, see four published in Osvald Siren, Chinese Sculpture: From the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century, New York, 1925, pl. 465; and another in collection of the Tokyo National Museum, included in the exhibition Chinese Buddhist Stone Sculpture. Veneration of the Sublime, Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, Osaka, 1995, cat. no. 64. See also a fourth example, featuring the hair pulled into a high chignon, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 5th April 2016, lot 2885.