The oval face having sharply defined features and downcast eyes, with a serene meditative expression and a projecting urna on the forehead, expressing wisdom. The well-modelled hair having sharp curls and a prominent ushnisha (topknot), which contains a round inset for inserting precious stones.
This head is a rare depiction of the Buddha in cast iron, a material which becomes more common in Chinese sculpture from the Song dynasty period (A.D. 960-1279); once sculptures were cast they were often covered in gesso, lacquer, paper or paint. For examples of depictions of the Buddha in iron from the Ming period (A.D. 1338-1644), see a large head in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (acc. 61.94) and the figure of a seated Buddha in the Victorian and Albert Museum, London (museum no. M.317-1921).
An Ancient Goose-Neck Vessel
The bulbous body raised on a circular foot, a rounded collar dividing the curved neck, a circular upright mouth rim at the crest and a simplified goose head at the tip
China, Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 220)
39 cm. / 15 ½ inches high
'Hsiang and His Album', Sir Percival David, T.O.C.S., 1933-34, vol. 11, pp. 22-47, pl. XVIII, fig. 29
'Bestiaire', Beurdeley & cie, Paris, March 1993, no. 15;
‘Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art’, Christie’s, New York, 21 March 2002, lot 80
This elegant bronze vessel is a rare type of Han Dynasty model based on the slender and graceful shape of a goose's neck and head.
An Ancient Torso of a Standing Buddha
Northern Qi Dynasty, circa 550-577 A.D.
Grey limestone, with pigment traces
Height: 61 cm. / 24 inches, excl. base
Provenance: Private collection, France
This fine torso of a standing Buddha is carved in diaphanous robes falling in elegant pleats, with drapes falling fluently along the contours of the body. The missing right hand was higher and raised, probably in abhayamudra (fearlessness), the left hand lower, probably in varadamudra (generosity). The sensitive manner of carving, simple style of clothing and crisp treatment of the pleats relate this impressive figure to the Northern Qi period.