2nd Dec, 2022 13:00

Fine Japanese Art

 
Lot 34
 

34

AN EXCEPTIONAL AND MONUMENTAL GILT WOOD FIGURE OF SEISHI BOSATSU

Sold for €52,000

including Buyer's Premium


Lot details

Japan, 16th-17th century, late Muromachi (1336-1573) to early Edo period (1615-1868)

Of yosegi-zukuri (joined-block) construction, the bodhisattva standing atop a lotus dais with finely carved petals raised on a compressed globular element with pierced foliate and floral dharmachakra designs supported on an elaborate tiered circular base decorated with scrolling vines, a wavy collar above lappets, and diapered chrysanthemums. His lowered left hand holding a small bouquet of lotus flowers, his raised right hand held in vitarka mudra (raigo-in). He is dressed in loose-fitting robes cascading in voluminous folds and billowing scarves, and richly adorned with an elaborate pierced necklace and head-ornament of applied copper alloy with pendent ornaments and ribbons. His serene face with finely painted downcast eyes below elegantly arched brows centered by an urna (byakugo) and full lips framed by a curled mustache, the hair piled up into a high chignon. The base inset with a flattened post surmounted by a large circular lotus aureole. The underside gives some further insight into the elaborate construction of this monumental figure.

HEIGHT overall 175 cm

Condition: Old wear, the gilt and applied metal elements remarkably well-preserved, minor flaking, small nicks and chips, light surface scratches, minuscule losses, expected minor age cracks. Possibly minor old repairs and touchups. Generally, in very good condition, commensurate with age, and better than most statues of this extremely rare size and period.
Provenance: From the estate of Dorothy Robins Mowry (1921-2021), an American think tank executive and author who lived and worked in Tokyo between 1963-1971, where she held a position in the Cultural Programs Office for 8 years at the American Embassy. Among her most well-known books are The Hidden Sun: Women of Modern Japan and Experiment in Democracy: The Story of U.S. Citizen Organizations in Forging the Charter of the United Nations. Dorothy was a sought-after public speaker at national and international conferences, universities, community and non-governmental organizations, and radio and TV stations. She presented extensively throughout the U.S. and overseas in many countries including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Switzerland, and Iran.

Seishi Bosatsu (Mahasthamaprapta), also known as the Bodhisattva of strength and wisdom, is recognized in Japan as one of the Thirteen Buddhas and associated with the Nio temple guardians. He is one of the oldest bodhisattvas and is regarded as powerful, especially in the Pure Land school, where he takes an important role in the Longer Sukhavativyuha Sutra. He is often depicted in a trinity with Amitabha (Amida) and Avalokiteshvara (Kannon), especially in Pure Land Buddhism. Seishi Bosatsu is rarely represented in Japanese sculpture outside of the Amida triad, where he is often depicted holding a lotus flower.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related gilt wood figure of Seishi Bosatsu, dated 18th century, 143.2 cm high, in the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Humboldt Forum, Berlin, reference number DLG 134-1996. Compare a related gilt wood figure of Seishi Bosatsu, dated 17th or 18th century, 81.3 cm high, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 2006.438a–e. Also compare a related gilt wood figure of Sho kannon, dated 14th century, 155 cm high, in the Fondazione Torino Musei, published by Arts of Asia, Winter 2022, no. 11.

Auction comparison:
Compare a related gilt wood figure of Amida, dated to the early Edo period and measuring 180 cm, sold at Christie’s, Art D’ Asie, 10 December 2020, Paris, lot 65 (sold for 52,500 EUR).

 

Japan, 16th-17th century, late Muromachi (1336-1573) to early Edo period (1615-1868)

Of yosegi-zukuri (joined-block) construction, the bodhisattva standing atop a lotus dais with finely carved petals raised on a compressed globular element with pierced foliate and floral dharmachakra designs supported on an elaborate tiered circular base decorated with scrolling vines, a wavy collar above lappets, and diapered chrysanthemums. His lowered left hand holding a small bouquet of lotus flowers, his raised right hand held in vitarka mudra (raigo-in). He is dressed in loose-fitting robes cascading in voluminous folds and billowing scarves, and richly adorned with an elaborate pierced necklace and head-ornament of applied copper alloy with pendent ornaments and ribbons. His serene face with finely painted downcast eyes below elegantly arched brows centered by an urna (byakugo) and full lips framed by a curled mustache, the hair piled up into a high chignon. The base inset with a flattened post surmounted by a large circular lotus aureole. The underside gives some further insight into the elaborate construction of this monumental figure.

HEIGHT overall 175 cm

Condition: Old wear, the gilt and applied metal elements remarkably well-preserved, minor flaking, small nicks and chips, light surface scratches, minuscule losses, expected minor age cracks. Possibly minor old repairs and touchups. Generally, in very good condition, commensurate with age, and better than most statues of this extremely rare size and period.
Provenance: From the estate of Dorothy Robins Mowry (1921-2021), an American think tank executive and author who lived and worked in Tokyo between 1963-1971, where she held a position in the Cultural Programs Office for 8 years at the American Embassy. Among her most well-known books are The Hidden Sun: Women of Modern Japan and Experiment in Democracy: The Story of U.S. Citizen Organizations in Forging the Charter of the United Nations. Dorothy was a sought-after public speaker at national and international conferences, universities, community and non-governmental organizations, and radio and TV stations. She presented extensively throughout the U.S. and overseas in many countries including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Switzerland, and Iran.

Seishi Bosatsu (Mahasthamaprapta), also known as the Bodhisattva of strength and wisdom, is recognized in Japan as one of the Thirteen Buddhas and associated with the Nio temple guardians. He is one of the oldest bodhisattvas and is regarded as powerful, especially in the Pure Land school, where he takes an important role in the Longer Sukhavativyuha Sutra. He is often depicted in a trinity with Amitabha (Amida) and Avalokiteshvara (Kannon), especially in Pure Land Buddhism. Seishi Bosatsu is rarely represented in Japanese sculpture outside of the Amida triad, where he is often depicted holding a lotus flower.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related gilt wood figure of Seishi Bosatsu, dated 18th century, 143.2 cm high, in the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Humboldt Forum, Berlin, reference number DLG 134-1996. Compare a related gilt wood figure of Seishi Bosatsu, dated 17th or 18th century, 81.3 cm high, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 2006.438a–e. Also compare a related gilt wood figure of Sho kannon, dated 14th century, 155 cm high, in the Fondazione Torino Musei, published by Arts of Asia, Winter 2022, no. 11.

Auction comparison:
Compare a related gilt wood figure of Amida, dated to the early Edo period and measuring 180 cm, sold at Christie’s, Art D’ Asie, 10 December 2020, Paris, lot 65 (sold for 52,500 EUR).

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