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Country Group: China, Japan and Korea

Item id: 520

This is a very special item: it is the finest piece of ivory I have ever owned. It was the centerpiece of an old southern California collection. The gentleman who owned it had retired and was downsizing in to a retirement home. He had to sell off most of his large and fine collection, and his wife had allowed him to keep just one of his ivory items in their new condo (I guess this may be one reason I am not currently married!). He struggled between this piece and a superb 19th century colonial ivory chess set, and the chess set won out, so I was fortunate to purchase this wonderful object. It is an extremely finely carved Quanyin, or Bodhisattva of Compassion. The detail is incredible. In the delicate hands are a bell and dorge: note that the items are caved in the round to the smallest detail, and that everything is carved from one single tusk. Everything down to the fingernails, strands of hair, fine details on the bell etc. are all completely articulated and finished. I have had the piece checked, and it has the correct kind of cross hatching and is indeed elephant ivory. I guarantee it as such. I have examined it closely, and remarkably, cannot find a single chip or loss anywhere. I am not an expert in ivory, but it does not look to have any repairs. If you buy it and determine I have missed something significant it certainly can be returned. There are a few age cracks including one on the right cheek, as can be seen in the photos. This is normal for such a piece. There is some discoloration. I think that some of it is from age and handling, and that some of it (near the base) may be from the root of the tusk. It is quite large, and stands 14.75 inches tall and 16.75 inches tall with the attached base. The base is a beautifully carved early 20th century lamp mounting which I believe was added later: I have not tried to remove it. The actual ivory is 5.25 inches wide. The entire thing has a very slight curve to it to maximize the tusk, and to add to the grace of the sculpture. It is extremely heavy: it weights an impressive 9+ pounds. Some of that is the base, but the vast majority is the ivory. Aside from the size and quality, which are of course important, what really sets this piece apart is the gentle loving joyful feeling exuded by the loving face. Many fine large ivory pieces focus so much on detail and precision that they forget about spirit. I regularly go to high end auctions, and rarely seen ivory pieces of this size that come close to this one in their overall quality. When I do see them, they tend to have auction estimates at least twice the opening bid of this one.

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