Limestone Seated Bodhisattva



Circa Tang Dynasty, Eight Century

Limestone with Polychrome remnants

Height: 22 inches


This seated limestone figure shows traces of polychrome coloring in vibrant pinks and blues. The figure, seated on a double lotus plinth in the lalitasana pose, has pendulant earlobes and a serene expression. The hair is bound into a topknot in the shape of a snail’s shell with one tress hanging over the left shoulder. The diaphanous dhoti drapes over the arms and gently extends to the base in U-shaped folds. The left arm is missing from the elbow, while the right hand rests gently on the knee. In our opinion, the subject matter, workmanship and material suggest a Tang dynasty date for this work of art.


Reference Number: 3634


Formerly in the Gump Family Collection, San Francisco.

A similar example is published in H. Vanderstappen and M. Rhie, ‘The Sculpture of T’ien Lung Shan: Reconstruction and Dating’, Artibus Asiae, 1965, vol. XXVII, 3, Switzerland, 1965, fig. 76.

See: Yamanaka and Company and Osaka Arts Society, Grand Exhibition of Ancient Chinese and Corean Works of Art, Tokyo, 1934, numbers 382 and 387, for two sandstone bodhisattvas from Tianlongshan.

A similar example excavated from Cangfosi in Northern Hebei province in 1930 is currently in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection, Number: 1930.85.

For a comparable example see Chinese Buddhist Sculpture from the Wei Through the Tan Dynasties. C.K. Chan Collection. Number 57. Tang Dynasty Black Limestone Seated Bodhisattva.

Another comparable example was sold at Christie’s New York Sale, March 26, 2003. Sale #1211, Lot#148.


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