Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) standing on a lotus emerging from waves

A hollow dry lacquer statue of Guanyin wearing a hooded cape over billowing garments that sweep to the right. The deity stands on cresting waves with an open lotus flower at the center. The figure’s waist is slightly bent and the upper back arched, creating a gentle curve. Hands are held in the teaching gesture. A jeweled necklace (yashti) is exposed on the chest. The sculpture is made of dry lacquer, using lacquer impregnated hemp cloth; the hands are constructed separately from wood.The lacquer shell is exceptionally thin and light. It is a distinctive bronze-golden color. The statue underwent extensive cleaning to remove added layers of red and gold color. A small area was left uncleaned for comparison.

Maker(s)
Artist: attributed to the Shen Shao'an Family Workshop
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, mid-17th to mid-18th century
Medium
Lacquer and cloth (dry lacquer technique) with traces of gilding
Dimensions
H x W x D: 50.8 x 24.2 x 20.2 cm (20 x 9 1/2 x 7 15/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Rolf and Maureen Jacoby
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F2021.1.1
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Lacquer, Sculpture
Type

Figure

Keywords
bodhisattva, Buddhism, China, Guanyin, lotus, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), wave
Provenance

1947-1950 to 1964
Rolf Jacoby (c.1907-1989) acquired in Seoul, Korea [1]

1964 to 1989
Rolf Jacoby and Maureen (T. Roche) Jacoby (1927-2002) owned jointly upon their marriage in 1964 [2]

1989 to 1990
Maureen Jacoby inherited upon the death of her husband on May 8, 1989 [3]

1990 to 2021
Freer Gallery of Art Study Collection, given by Maureen Jacoby in 1990 [4]

From 2021
Transferred from the Freer Study Collection to the Freer Gallery of Art Collection, May 2021 [5]

Notes:

[1] Born in Dortmund, Germany, Rolf Jacoby was a professional musician who immigrated to the United States from Vienna in 1938. He became a professor of music at Goddard College, conducting the choir and orchestra. In 1941, he joined the United States Army. He became an American citizen in 1943 and then became a government intelligence officer in North Africa and Italy. After World War II, the American government sent him to Vienna. Around 1947, Jacoby began his career in the Foreign Service as a diplomat in Seoul, Korea. While there, he helped to establish the Seoul Symphony Orchestra and began collecting Asian art. Leaving his post in Korea around 1950, Jacoby also held diplomatic postings in Bari, Italy; Manchester, England; Dakar, Senegal; Paris, France; and Tokyo, Japan. He married Maureen T. Roche on September 21, 1967. The couple resided in Washington, DC and Chestertown, MD. Rolf Jacoby likely purchased this object between 1946 and 1950, when serving his diplomatic post in Seoul Korea, see memo to Jan Stuart, January 26, 1990, in accession file F1991.70.

[2] See note 1.

[3] Rolf Jacoby died on May 8, 1989, in Centerville, MD and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington D.C.

[4] See deed of gift, June 13, 1990, copy in accession file.

[5] See transfer form, June 1, 2021, copy in accession file.

Previous Owner(s)

Mr. Rolf R. Jacoby and Mrs. Maureen R. Jacoby
Rolf Jacoby 1907–1989
Mrs. Maureen R. Jacoby 1927– 2002

Description

A hollow dry lacquer statue of Guanyin wearing a hooded cape over billowing garments that sweep to the right. The deity stands on cresting waves with an open lotus flower at the center. The figure's waist is slightly bent and the upper back arched, creating a gentle curve. Hands are held in the teaching gesture. A jeweled necklace (yashti) is exposed on the chest. The sculpture is made of dry lacquer, using lacquer impregnated hemp cloth; the hands are constructed separately from wood.The lacquer shell is exceptionally thin and light. It is a distinctive bronze-golden color. The statue underwent extensive cleaning to remove added layers of red and gold color. A small area was left uncleaned for comparison.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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