A rare and large sancai-glazed architectural fitting of Guanyin in a grotto, Ming Dynasty

Representing Guanyin seated in royal ease on a raised rockwork pedestal, dressed in loose-fitting robes, open at the chest to reveal a jewelled pendant necklace, the face with benevolent expression and the hair swept up into a high chignon, with a circular mandala behind, flanked on either side by two acolytes, each standing on a raised lotus-pod, with crashing waves below and overhanging rocks above, all glazed in green, yellow and brown, metal frame. 59.6cm (23½in) high. (2). Sold for £4,800

Provenance: a German private collection

Note: Compare a fahua architectural fitting of Guanyin in a grotto dated by inscription to 1573, illustrated by J.Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, fig.18:23, where the author notes that fittings of this type were produced in southern Shanxi province, where increased wealth in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries gave rise to the construction and refurbishment of family ancestral halls.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, 14 May 2009. New Bond Street www.bonhams.com