East Asia, China, Six Dynasty Period, North Qi Dynasty, ca. 550 to 577 CE. A gorgeous and skillfully-defined marble carving depicting a Bodhisattva (or Guanyin/Kuanyin). Standing atop an integral lotus base in front of a flattened aureole which exhibits a lotus-petal outline, the Bodhisattva wears a flowing ankle-length robe covered with a flowing cloak. Each hand grasps a different symbolic implement, with a flask of pure water in the raised left hand, and a willow branch in the drooping right hand, and an elegant necklace indicative of royalty rests along her clavicle. Incised eyes, a petite nose, full lips, and semicircular ears with drooping lobes comprise the serene visage, and her head is capped with a headdress and veil adorned with faint floral motifs. Presented atop an integral rectangular block, this is a gorgeous example of superb Chinese artistry! Custom wooden display stand included. Size: 4.8" W x 13.6" H (12.2 cm x 34.5 cm); 15" H (38.1 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.
A stylistically-similar example of a monumental size hammered for $1,728,900 at Christie's, New York "Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections" auction (sale 2268, March 18, 2009, lot 357): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/sculptures-statues-figures/a-very-rare-and-important-painted-white-5181993-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5181993&sid=c2694691-b1a9-4c10-95f7-5bed28caa982
Provenance: private Vero Beach, Florida, USA collection, acquired in the early 1970s from an old private French collection
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Small losses to bottom of base, with minor chips and abrasions to aureole, figure, and integral block, softening to some finer details particularly around face and head, and light encrustations. Light earthen deposits throughout.