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Lot 293


Estimated Value:

10.000 € - 15.000 €



Korea, the head 8th/9th c., the stand 18th c.
H. 32/45 cm
The bust is showing the upper sections of chest and arms covered in a mantle closed right over left, his face is displaying a serene expression with downcast eyes below arched eyebrows running into the nose-bridge, smiling lips, elongated earlobes and his hairdo is combed into a low ushnisha set to the front with a ratna.
Collection Dr. Rainer Kreissl (1924 - 2005) - Important Southern German private collection, acquired at Neumeister Munich, 4.11.1982, lot 425
Transmitted from China in the fourth century, Buddhism quickly took root in Korea and, despite it‘s foreign roots would become an influential political, religious, and cultural force during the Three Kingdoms period (57 BC-AD 668) and subsequent Unified Silla dynasty (AD 668-935). The earliest Korean Buddhist sculptures, which date to the late fourth or early fifth century, occur in gilt bronze and fired clay and closely follow contemporaneous Chinese models. By the seventh century, however, distinctive Korean styles and iconographic types had emerged as evinced by the world-renowned gilt-bronze sculpture representing the Pensive Bodhisattva Maitreya (National Treasure no. 83) now in the collection of the National Museum of Korea, Seoul (See: National Museum of Korea, Masterpieces of Early Buddhist Sculpture, 100 BCE - 700 CE, Seoul: National Museum of Korea, 2015, pp. 272-275, no. 129.) In AD 660 the Silla kingdom conquered Baekje and in AD 668, through an alliance with Tang China, vanquished Goguryeo (37 BC-AD 668), bringing to a close the Three Kingdoms period, establishing the Unified Silla dynasty, and politically unifying the peninsula. Buddhism enjoyed state patronage during the Unified Silla period. In fact, two of Korea's greatest architectural monuments, Bulguk-sa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, were created under royal patronage
between AD 751 and AD 774 in the Silla capital, modern Gyeongju, extant today, both temples were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995. As attested not only by the exquisite stone sculptural reliefs at Seokguram but by the magnificent stone head in this sale, sculptures produced during the Unified Silla period rank among the most serene Buddhist sculptures ever produced in Korea. Indeed, such majestic Korean sculptures rightfully take their place among the masterpieces of world sculpture.