A Tianhuang Stone Figure of Maitreya Buddha with Gold Decoration, Qing Dynasty
Lot No. ：HRCS-181129
Centuries of Style：Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
Feature： A figure of Maitreya(1*) Buddha, outline in gold, Tianhuang (2*) stone.
1* Maitreya (Sanskrit), is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita. According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor to the present Buddha, Gautama Buddha.
2* "Tianhuang" is the name of a kind of stone regarded as the most valuable of all stone sculpture materials in China. For this reason there are suggestions that tianhuang be designated as the "king of stones" of China. In bygone days one ounce of tianhuang was worth one ounce of gold; today it has become even more precious. In autumn 1996, the Beijing Hanhai Company put a mid-Qing 460-gram tianhuang seal carved with a dragon-shaped top for auction at an offering price of 300,000 - 50,000 yuan, but the deal was clinched at a whopping 1.4 million yuan, an all-time high worldwide concerning the tianhuan stone.
Tianhuang is produced in the mountains by the Shoushan Stream in the northern suburbs of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province. In remote antiquity, cracked stone fell off the mountain and settled in a layer of sand that lay below paddy fields by the Shoushan Stream, and was gradually turned into a kind of sedimental sandy ore that is called tianhuang (which literally means "field and yellow") because of its yellowish colour and because it was mined from underneath paddy fields. Mixed with tianhuang are also stones red, white, black and grey in colour, which are consequently known as hongtian, baitian, heitian and huitian. After many centuries of constant mining, these stones are virtually in non-existence. With a crystal and moist texture, tianhuang is regarded as the best material available for the carving of seals, a Chinese obsession.
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