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Cast Iron Chinese Buddha
Manjushri Bodhisattva
On Guardian Lion
Late Ming - Early Qing Dynasty, circa: 16-17th Century
H 11 in.(28cm.), W 8.5 in.(22cm.), D 4.5 in.(11cm.)

The use of cast iron became increasingly frequent from the Tang Dynasty (618-906A.D.) onward. Although iron does not lend itself to the same refinement as bronze, one has only to see this sensitively realized Bodhisattva statue to feel its unique quality as a sculpture medium other than bronze or wood carving.

This Manjushri Bodhisattva is seated in lalitasana above a Guardian Lion, his right hand holding a sceptre (joo-i), left a pearl of wisdom, and wearing a double layered Tang style robe. His face appears to be feminine, with serene and contemplative expression. The guardian Lion is well detailed, and decorated with foliate hem. With tongue hanging as if smiling, it appears to be docile with great charm. There are losses in the sculpture, and rust has created a unique grainy texture, it is nature's unintentional aesthetic created with the passing of time, thus fine detail in the Bodhisattva statue remains a witness to the proud stance of its technical and spiritual significance.

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