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Rare and important Large Chinese Iron Figure of a Bodhisattva

Yuan/ early Ming dynasty, ca: 14th/ 15th century


Finely modelled in the full round and posed in an attitude of Royal Ease, her right hand extended over her knee. She wears a long robe, crown, and beaded necklace. The face displays fine details and expression. The figure retains vestiges of polychrome decoration. The reverse side with a partial inscription of two characters reading Wen Cun.
Height: 34 ¾ inches (88 cm.)
Height with base: 39 inches (99 cm.)
With fitted wood base.
Ex: Private American Collection to the present Acquired from Jacques Barrere, Paris in the mid-1980’s Exhibited: Barrere exhibition, November, 1985
Ex Collection: Armand Trampitsch, France (1890-1975)

Full sculptures made from iron are extremely rare to have survived antiquity. Best known examples are Ming dynasty Bodhisattva heads and occasionally torsos, and examples may be found in several Western collections. The earliest example to our knowledge of a full figure is a Bodhisattva seated on a lion, dated 1222 (Song dynasty) in Henan Province that is illustrated by Matsubara, Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, 1966, 303A.


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