19th-Century Chinese Bronze Guanyin Figure
Appraised Value: $8,000 - $12,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:40)
Lark Mason & Associates
GUEST: My father purchased it in China in 1931, 1932, when he was stationed there as a naval officer. I don't know how much he paid for it or anything, but it's been in my family since he brought it back from China. He just loved her when he walked in and saw her.
APPRAISER: This is the figure of the goddess of mercy. It's Chinese and her name is Guanyin. She's characterized always by wearing these long robes, sometimes in a standing posture, sometimes in a seated position, often with a cowl over the head and usually with the hands raised and one holding a small scroll, sometimes occasionally holding a lotus branch or some other kind of object. Often the figure of Guanyin will have a beaded necklace of some sort. You can see that this is, in fact, bronze. And it's particularly interesting because it's not just bronze. It has other metals involved. And here on the fringes of the garment, running all the way up the side and on the middle of the body, there is inlaid silver wire, which is a particularly difficult technique. It's not on the surface. This is actually inlaid into the metal. We have an inscription here on the front. And there is also an inscription here on the back. Most of the time, these inscriptions will be who the figure is or some aspect of the figure, but also it will have a name that's attached to the figure that's characteristic of this particular kind of workmanship, and that is the name Shisou, S-H-I-S-O-U. So we often describe these as Shisou vessels or figures, for this particular workshop that was active in China. Usually you see them from the 17th century forward. Now, in terms of the date of this figure, I would say that this dates from the 19th century. Now, where in the 19th century? It's tough to say. It's in beautiful condition. The inlaid silver wire is in good shape. Fortunately, no one polished it. (laughing) You know about that.
GUEST: I do.
APPRAISER: Because the bronze has this patination that was put there on purpose. And that's in great shape. So it's a beautifully cast figure and it's exactly what people are looking for to buy in the marketplace today. I think in an auction sale, it would make between $8,000 and $12,000.
GUEST: My father would be so proud. He loved this girl.
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