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Antique Chinese Wood Statue
Samantabhadra
Riding Sacred Elephant

Orgin: China. Circa: early 20th century
H 19 in.(48cm.), W 16 in.(40cm.), D 9 in.(23cm.)

Condition: age cracks, paint loss, o.a. fair!

Samantabhadra bodhisattva is known as the patron saint of the monasteries of Mount Emei (Chinese: delicate eyebrow mountain) in western China, one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains. Typically depicted riding an elephant, and occasionally with feminine characteristics, the bodhisattva shows two distinct madras; her right hand in the virtaka mudra, a mudra of reasoning, argumentation, and explanation of the teachings; while the left hand is in the samahita mudra, a mudra of meditation that symbolizes the female left-hand principle of wisdom or meditation on emptiness.


Private Collection

This is a beautiful and intricately carved piece, though its age clearly shows through its worn veneer and crack lines. Layers of paint have since faded long ago, leaving varied traces of dark wood stain over the bare surface. The gently rounded face of the figure suggests a subtle feminine presence, as does the tamed elephant resting beneath her dangling legs. Her rounded fingers and toes are gracefully proportioned, giving the figure a life-like presence and enabling a sense of ease. The carvers skill is apparent in this rendering of Samantabhadra; the camphor wood smells of incense. A beautiful piece in fair condition.

  
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