33 PAINTED STUCCO HEAD OF BUDDHA
CHINA, PROBABLY SHANXI PROVINCE
YUAN OR MING DYNASTY
13TH – 14TH CENTURY
H. 30 CMS, 12 INS
A large painted and lacquered stucco head of Buddha with a tranquil expression, the eyes half open and inlaid with black glass, the mouth highlighted in red and set with a gentle smile and the earlobes long and sweeping outwards, a recessed urna, also accentuated in red and once holding a glass bead or gem, the hair rising in tight curls to a rounded usnisha; mounted on an antique wooden base.
The mountainous, rugged terrain and dry climate of Shanxi province, with its numerous monasteries and temples, helped to preserve many such sculptures from damage by war and nature.
For a closely related Ming dynasty seated Buddha in the Temple of the Lesser Western Heaven (Xiaoxitian), Xixian County, Shanxi province, see fig. 4.72 in A.F. Howard et al, Chinese Sculpture, Yale University Press, 2006.
PROVENANCE: Private English collection.