The arrival of Buddhism in China generated important transformations of this bodhisattva who took the name Guanyin. After the Tang Dynasty, Guanyin finally lost his mustache, became an androgynous figure and was revered as a female deity.
To fully exercise her vocation, Guanyin must be accessible. The Chinese located her personal paradise where she could be seen in meditation by the lucky ones. This drift no longer meets the Sanskrit canon but generates another one in which 33 main attitudes are described. The statues of the temples simulate the accessibility of Guanyin in her paradise.
The Shuiyue Guanyin meditation (Guanyin on the reflection of the Moon in Water) is venerated since the transition period between the Tang and Song Dynasties. Guanyin is relaxed and smiling. She sits flexibly on a rock, her body very slightly leaning backwards, one leg bent up and the other resting or hanging. The left hand is placed on the rock and the right forearm on the bent knee.
The sizes of these polychrome wooden statues vary according to the altar for which they are intended. It is difficult to identify their origin between the Song and their rival neighbors Liao and Jin who treated Guanyin's iconography in a similar way. The Nelson Atkins Museum owns a 2.40 m high specimen announced as Liao or Jin, and the British Museum a 1.70 m high specimen announced as Song or Jin.
On December 16 in Paris (Hôtel Drouot), Leclere sells as lot 88 a Shuiyue Guanyin with the hanging leg, 102 cm high, announced as Song. Sharply chiseled and in very good condition, it still has wide traces of polychromy and has never met the xylophages. I guess that it was designed to sit on the edge of a table and has never been integrated on a rock.
SOLD for € 1.9M before fees