Buddhism was introduced 1200 years ago in Nanzhao by a monk from India and became the official religion less than a century later, just before the fall of the kingdom. In this Chinese region close to South Asia, devotion is closer to Indonesian and Burmese than to Chinese Buddhism. In particular, the preference of the Song for the Guanyin female representation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara does not reach Dali.
This specific canon includes from the time of Nanzhao a figure of Avalokiteshvara, or more properly Guanshiyin Pusa, standing for preaching with a tall and slender body. A 46 cm high gilt bronze made about 900 years ago in Dali is estimated $ 2M for sale by Christie's in New York on March 20, lot 813.
Guanshiyin Pusa is an emanation of Amitabha. Sometimes in Dali the god or the bodhisattva is shown in a sitting position with the legs in parallel instead of the classical position of the lotus.
In the same sale as above, lot 814 estimated $ 4M is a very rare seated Avalokiteshvara, 38 cm high gilt bronze made in Dali about 1000 to 900 years ago. The two main arms with clasped hands plus a pair of symmetrical arms with hands resting on the knees have survived. This piece includes tenons to attach other potential pairs of arms, symbols of the omnipotence of the bodhisattva. The rare vertical position of the third eye confirms the Dali origin.
Lot 813 SOLD for $ 1.95M including premium
Lot 814 UNSOLD