Very rare, large early Ming Buddha (or earlier) this piece has been in my personal collection for about 15 years, it had belonged to another private collector 10 years prior. The small mouth and expressive face seems to set this as being earlier than Ming, so this is a conservative dating. The materials used in its construction (clay mixed with straw and hard clay exterior) is typical of what is seen in Northern China (Gansu, Shaanxi, Henan and Ningxia) where the climate is extremely arid- a classic example would be the images seen in the famous Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang Gansu, which date back to 4 CE. A large number of small impressed Buddha plaque images with similar pigments surfaced on the market quite a few years back and are usually attributed as being Song, in my opinion, these all came from the same place. There has been some restoration to this piece (old and new). The upheld hand is a new repair, while the gold leaf on the torso and face was probably done some time ago. I should add that it was common to repair Buddhist images over the centuries and should be considered to be natural and “of the period. This is a very impressive and well proportioned Buddha which would make it a fine center piece for a Buddhist altar or collection. H: 43cm/16.9in and W: 23cm/9in.