Bodhisattva Seated in Meditation
Item No. 16744
19th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood
8.25" x 4.5" x 3"
( 20.955 x 11.43 x 7.62 cm)
(H x W x D)
This statue is of a seated Bodhisattva in padmasana (meditation) with the hair arranged in a tall bun curving down to the rear and wearing a tall and triangular shaped three-lobed crown decorated with crosshatched deep grooves dug out of the wood. The lobes are attached to a wide band at the hairline that finishes as a small roundel near the back, and the usual rib or sash drops from the back of the crown and down over the shoulders. The face is rounded and oval and has a prominent chin and cheekbones, curving pursed lips and a wide triangular shaped nose with a center ridge in the middle that splits left and right at the bridge to form high arching eyebrows that frame the almost closed and almond shaped eyelids. The unusually high forehead and the great size of the head in relation to the size of the body makes it seem apparent that the sculptor wanted one to concentrate on the beautifully formed, quiet and calm face of the Bodhisattva, as it is a model of inner peace and serenity for which all Buddhists strive. On the other hand, the sculptor also displays his facility with his craft, as the contrasts between the smooth surface of the robe and its prominent hem and the deeply cut curving, vertical, angular and oval folds of the robe create a play of contrasts that is a delight to the eye.
Although the sculpture is presently mostly black, probably from the centuries of smoke from incense and candles, there are traces of red pigment, gilt and a layer of dark black lacquer throughout the piece. The rear also reveals a now empty but unusually long bung.