Chinese Buddhist Devotional Art Leads Gianguan Auctions March Sale

  • NEW YOTK, New York
  • /
  • January 10, 2018

  • Email
Sui Dynasty gilt-bronze altarpiece of Buddha Maitreya with seven Buddha on lotus blossom thrones. Gianguan Auctions, March, 2018.
Northern Wei Buddhist stele of Buddha flanked by bodhisattvas guarded by dragons under an ogee of flying apsara. Gianguan Auctions, March, 2018.

Gianguan Auctions will hold its 16th annual spring sale on Saturday, March 10. Marquee properties include a rare Sui Dynasty Buddhist altarpiece, a Northern Qi Buddhist stele and  a Western Wei Shrine

From the unifying Sui period comes a gilt-bronze altarpiece of Buddha Maitreya that suggests the Seven Buddhas on the Great Tower of Asoka. Of exceptional definition, the Maitreya is seated in dhyanasana with hands positioned in karanamudra. A robe of diagonal folds exposes the left shoulder. Flanked by two Bodhisattvas, the flame shaped aureole and lotus throne rest on a two-tiered openwork plinth. Rising above the head are seven Buddhas on lotus thrones. They were cleverly worked as  extensions of the drapery in back. Seven Buddhas began on the Great Tower of Ashoka, side by side with seven linden or seven towers. In the Northern Wei Dynasty and Sui Dynasties seven Buddha statues were very popular at the time and this altar piece reflects the period’s distinct character.  A similar bronze altar piece is in the collection of Boston Museum of Fine Art.

A remarkably detailed Northern Wei Dynasty Buddhist stele with pointed arch offers a meditation on a standing Buddha flanked by bodhisattvas guarded by dragons. All are backed by a flaming mandorla under an ogee that ascends amidst flying apsara. At the uppermost point is a stupa, the metaphor for housed relics or blessed remains. The Buddhist stele is reminiscent of items in the collection of the Qingzhou Museum that were excavated in 1996 at the Longxing Temple of Qingzhou, in Shandong Province. 

Western Wei Six Buddha altarpiece, bearing a date and inscription. Gianguan Auctions, March 2018.

A rare, dated Buddhist gilt-bronze shrine from the Western Wei period offers insights into a triangle of belief and the mother/son connection that is as alive today as it was fifteen hundred years. Six Buddhas sit on a flame-shaped mandorla bearing a date and dedicatory inscription. According to the inscription on the back, It was commissioned by a son commenting his mother with the hope she will bless him and family.  The mother is acknowledged as the father’s second wife.

Gianguan Auctions’ March 10th sale will also feature a collection of fine Chinese scroll paintings, carved jades, and Chines porcelains along with collections of Zisha teapots and Chinese stone seals.  

A fully color catalog will be online shortly. For early inquiries on the properties mentioned here, please call the Gallery Director at 212-867-7288 or email  Gallery previews begin Thursday, March 1 and continue through Friday, Mar. 9 (10AM - 7PM EST).  The auction starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 10 and will be online at ,   &

Gianguan Auctions, New York’s most prestigious locally owned Asian art auction house, is located at 39 W. 56th Street, 3rd floor. For details visit 


  • Email