Japan, late Edo period (1615-1868)
Finely carved and assembled from multiple pieces of wood to depict Fugen Bosatsu (Samantabhadra) seated in meditation atop a lotus throne supported on a recumbent white elephant resting on rockwork atop a tiered rectangular base with pierced lotus designs. The deity wearing long flowing robes opening at the chest and finely decorated in gold ldacquer with clouds, lotus, scrolling vines, and diapered designs, and adorned with a beaded necklace. In his hands he holds two stems bearing a lotus leaf and bud, respectively. His serene face with heavy-lidded downcast eyes below gently arched brows centered by a rock crystal byakugo (urna), flanked by long pendulous pierced earlobes. The elaborate nimbus boldly carved with cloud formation and a central pierced lotus flowerhead.
HEIGHT 54.3 cm
Condition: Good condition with some wear, flaking and small losses to lacquer, rubbing and minor loss to gilt, few small nicks and chips, occasional light scratches.
Provenance: Dutch private collection.
Samantabhadra is the bodhisattva associated with the practice of Buddhist teaching and joins Manjushri, the lord of transcendent wisdom, in a trinity with Shakyamuni Buddha. The deity is known as ‘He whose bounty is omnipresent’ and represents the Buddhist Law and compassion. The bodhisattva is borne by a white elephant, symbolic of the strength achieved through the practice of Buddhism.
Compare a related gilt and lacquered wood figure of Fugen, dated 1710 by inscription, 80 cm high, at Bonhams, Fine Japanese Works of Art, 14 September 2010, New York, lot 6141 (bought-in at an estimate of 15,000-20,000).
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