China, Northern Zhou dynasty, 557 - 581
A grey limestone standing torso of the Buddha. The left hand is raised to the waist with palm uppermost, grasping the end of the garment. The deity wears layered ankle-length robes that fall in stylized folds, forming deep U-shapes at the chest and over the thighs, with a central Y-shaped fold of material between the legs. The garment terminates in a fluidly undulating hem above the ankles with the underskirt emerging in thick pleats. The back is simply carved with a few curving vertical strokes indicating the fabric folds and with the furthest edge of the garment tossed over the shoulder and trailing down the back. The stone has a smooth patina and bears traces of the original red, green and white pigments, as well as some gilding.
The columnar, full-frontal quality of this magnificent, monumental torso places it within the Northern Zhou sculptural tradition. The Northern Zhou period is the last heyday for Chinese Buddhist art in the sixth century and many Buddhist grottoes were built back then. The style of Northern Zhou Buddhist figures is actually a mixture of the styles of the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi dynasties, combined with southern regimes and the Gupta style from India. In 574 AD Emperor Wudi of the Northern Zhou dynasty launched a three-year Buddhist persecution and as a result many Buddhist figures were destroyed at that time, making this Northern Zhou torso a very rare and precious survivor. The sculpture can be compared to a figure in the collection of the Shanxi Provincial Museum. Another view of this figure is illustrated in the catalogue of this museum. A closely comparable figure, also in the museum collection, has an inscription dating it to the 4th year of the Tianhe reign of the Northern Zhou period, corresponding to 569.
Eskenazi Limited, London.
Private collection, the Philippines.
London, 2004, Eskenazi Limited.
Eskenazi, Chinese Buddhist figures, London, 2004, number 1.
- Matsubara, S. A History of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, plates volume 2, Tokyo, 1995, plate 367
- Shanxi Provincial Museum, Shanxi shidiao yishu, Beijing, 1962, number 23
- Shanxi Provincial Museum, Shanxi shidiao yishu, Beijing, 1962, number 22op. cit. no. 4:6, p. 136
参展：伦敦艾斯肯纳齐画廊 2004 年度大展
1：张铭博士(Dr. Zhang Ming).麦积山石窟第4窟研究，The Research on Cave 4 of Maijishan Grottoes. 兰州：兰州大学，2017 年6 月博士学位论文