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Last BuddhaFuture Buddha

Antique Lacquered Gilded Wood
Seated Hunchback

Ming Dynasty, 14-17th century

h.11 in.(27.5cm) X w.10 in.(25.5cm) X d.5 in.(12.5cm)

Condition: Good. damage to head

Sold to Private Collection

This Ming Dynasty carving shows a pugnacious figure in confrontational seated posture, head thrust forward with scowling eyes and teeth bared to repulse the enemies of the Truth. The work is expressively carved from fruitwood, lacquered and gilded, with much of the gold remaining, particularly on the back. On the bottom of the figure is a notation in ink dated August 27th, 1878 which reads, “Taken from one of the gates, Peking China, after hearing missionaries - the head of this god was split to see what he was made of.” Thus the back portion of of the head is missing, although this does not detract as the figure appears complete from most angles. The body is thick with muscular arms and broad hands with spatulate fingertips resting on the thighs.

Fierce guardian figures are seen ubiquitously protecting altars and shrines. They are meant to give pause--impure motives are not to be tolerated. Since the affliction of the hunchback was viewed as the outcome of previous karma in which the person had ridiculed the followers of Buddha, this protector emphasizes the retributive power of the reformed. Thus the guardian, while displaying the result of , admonishes us to commit no such lapse lest we be similarly reborn, reminding us that we are bent down by a great burden of ignorance, greed and hatred, and require right effort to become restored to our own true nature.

Last BuddhaFuture Buddha

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