A Rare Ming Sancai Glazed Stoneware Figure of Guanyin

A Rare Ming Sancai Glazed Stoneware Figure of Guanyin

Ming Dynasty, 16th Century

The Bodhisattva seated in rajalilasana with one leg pendant and the other raised on the rocky outcrop, with both hands clasped around the right knee, her corpulent figure draped in loose fiiting green robes tied high above the waist with the upper chest exposed, the shoulders covered by a wide scarf draped around the arms with the long ends falling in folds over the rocks, the legs and chest luxuriantly adorned with beads and jewels, the head with a tall chignon behind a bejeweled crown, the buff pottery figure covered in bright green, straw and yellow enamel glazes highlighted in black

35 3/8 in. (89.8 cm.) high


CT Loo, Paris
Christopher Bruckner, London
Weisbrod Chinese Art Ltd, New York
An American private collection


Chinese Ceramic Art, Innovation and Imitation, from the Neolithic Period through the Qing Dynasty, Michael B. Weisbrod, Inc., Nov./Dec. 1988, illustrated and discussed in the Catalogue by J. May Lee, no. 41



A related sancai-glazed seated figure of Buddha is illustrated by Rene-Yvon Lefevre d'Argence, Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculpture from the Avery Brundage Collection, Kondasha, Tokyo, 1974, fig. 170. In the catalogue description, the author writes, "The figure belongs to a large series, many of which have reportedly come from Shansi, and is very close to a Buddha now in the Musee Guimet. The Avery Brundage Collection example seems to continue the style of a pottery Buddha, dated 1494, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." The dated figure in the Metropolitan Museum is illustrated by W. Cox, The Book of Pottery and Porcelain, Vol. 1, New York, 1947, pl. 151.

Compare also to several other massive sancai-glazed Ming figures, a Buddha dated 1617 in the Hong Kong Museum of Art, illustrated by T. Nguyet and S. Markbreiter, 'Hong Kong in Transition, Opening of the New Hong Kong Museum of Art', Arts of Asia, November-December 1991, p. 84; and a group of figures from the collection of Paul Huou Ming Tse, one of which is a Buddha, now in the Avery Brundage Collection, published by Paul Huou Ming Tse, Ta Kou Tchai, Preuves des Antiquites de Chine, Beijing, 1930. Two large standing figures of assistants to the Judge of Hell in the British Museum Collection, London are illustrated by J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics, London, 2001, pp. 541-543, nos. 19:3 and 19:4. Compare also a pair of sancai glazed figures of bodhisattvas dated to the early 15th century confirmed by the result of a thermoluminescence test, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 October 2002, lot 792.

This object was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2011.