Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)
China, late 17th–early 18th century
6 1/4 × 5 × 3 5/8 in. (15.9 × 12.7 × 9.2 cm.)
Swiss private collection.
June 1999 with Koller Auctions, A111/Lot 40.
Kapoor Galleries, New York, acquired in Dec 2018 Koller Auctions A187AS lot 137.
Purchased in 2019 by Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
Avalokiteshvara (in Chinese, Guanyin) sits with his right hand resting on his raised right knee and his lowered left hand grasping the stem of a lotus, a posture indicative of relaxation. The lotus and the small Buddha in the diadem confirm the identification of this bodhisattva as Avalokiteshvara. In addition to his saronglike lower piece and scarf, standard clothing for a bodhisattva, this figure wears an antelope skin with a three-dimensional head falling over his left shoulder and legs tied in a loop above his chest. Such animal skins are a long-standing Indian symbol for ascetic practices, as is Avalokiteshvara’s long matted hair.