Large-scale Nyoirin Kannon Bosatsu in characteristic seated pose of royal ease, sculpted figurally from a gray-hued volcanic stone akin to basalt. Early-Edo Period ca. 1650, possibly earlier. Minor old loss, with traces of polychrome.
Height: 61 cm
Width: 37 cm
Depth: 26 cm
Japanese stone is for the most part sculpted in relief; figurally sculpted pieces are concomitantly rare. In the case of figurally sculpted pieces, the arms are very seldom treated naturalistically, i.e., as cylindrical extensions angling out and away from the trunk, but are instead typically fused to the trunk along a line extending from armpit to fingertip, a stylistic concession to the relative softness of most types of Japanese stone. (Marble, for example, has never been quarried in Japan, and high-quality sandstone is virtually nonexistent.)
Elegantly sculpted from a relatively hard volcanic stone seen most often in early-Edo pieces of high quality and with both arms treated naturalistically, this Nyoirin Kannon stone is a distinct rarity. Highly collectible.