WFE 30 A very fine wood carving of Damo


 17th/18th century 

The figure is seated on a base of leaves with his left leg raised in lalitasana. He is dressed in loose fitted robes edged with a zigzag border and opening at the chest. His hands are clasped beneath the voluminous folds of his long robes revealing his protruding left foot. His head is slightly turned to the right and his face is modelled with downcast eyes and with a a serene and intense contemplative expression enhanced by the curly eyebrows, moustache and beard. The wood has an attractive patina.
Height 12.2 cm

The figure represents the historical monk known as Damo in China, Daruma in Japan and Bodhidarma in India.  He travelled to China crossing the Yangzi River on a bamboo reed in the early 6th century. His teachings became the foundation of Chan (Zen) Buddhism
The face with broad, flat nose, heavy-lidded oval eyes and tight curly hair reveals the characteristics of his non-Chinese origin.

Provenance: Formerly in the collection of Jan Habbema, acquired in Indonesia in the 1930s, thence by descent in the family.
Jan Habbema formed a big collection of Chinese art whilst stationed in Bojonegoro, Indonesia, as a high official, until 1936



Works of Art > Early Bronzes