The ephemeral dynasty of the Northern Qi reigning 1450 years ago started the preparation of Buddhist temples in caves that were dug into the rock in Tianlongshan, the mountain of the heavenly dragon, not far from their capital in the Shanxi. This development has been continued and expanded by the Tang.
25 grottoes were discovered in Tianlongshan with a total of 1,144 reliefs carved directly into the wall complemented by about 1,500 statues in the round. These sculptures mark the culmination of the sensual and flexible Buddhist figuration under the Tang.
A Bodhisattva in sandstone 60 cm high surfaced in 1941 in the C.T. Loo collection. Despite the fragility of the stone, it is complete and in a sensational condition. It has all the characteristics of the Tang statues with a similar attitude and face line as other figures excavated at Tianlongshan. It will be sold on October 5 by Sotheby's in Hong Kong, lot 3602.