East Asia, China, Ming Dynasty, ca. 1368 to 1644 CE. A striking stucco head depicting a bodhisattva donning an elaborate crown adorned with a central Buddha who is flanked by spiraling tendrils with a lovely beaded band (perhaps with pearls) below. Her beautiful face is finely modeled with elegant facial planes, slightly pursed lips, a philtrum above, somewhat downcast eyes, arched brows leading to an aquiline nose, long earlobes, and a fringe of black hair that is further embellished with finely incised lobes and drawn back beneath her crown. The head is further embellished with traces of yellow and red pigment on the ears as well as white and yellow pigment on the face and headdress, and black and red pigment on the coiffure. Size: 7.5" L x 7.375" W x 12.375" H (19 cm x 18.7 cm x 31.4 cm); 16.875" H (42.9 cm) on included custom stand.
Bodhisattvas are among the most compassionate beings in the universe, devoting themselves to saving the suffering and helping others achieve enlightenment and Buddhahood. Traditionally depicted as less austere than Buddhas with graceful postures and elegant garments, a nod to the riches of the Northwestern Chinese Silk Road, this piece is no exception. Bodhisattvas or Guanyin are associated with compassion and mercy - their long ears significant, because they rescues all human beings by hearing their cries for help and the sounds of suffering.
Provenance: private Los Angeles, California, USA collection, purchased between the 1980s to 2000s; originally purchased from London art market, later placed in London auction sale
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A fragment from a larger statue with losses to the neckline, peripheries of the headdress and high-pointed areas. Fissures on verso, possibly indicative of repairs, but may simply be stabilized fissures. Concave area on verso of headdress is rough as if it once had attached elements. Expected surface wear commensurate with age. Ample black pigment adorning hair and traces of red, yellow, and white pigment on the head and headdress as described.