Auction Theme：Bullock 2019 Dubai Art Auction, UAE
Auction Time：October 26, 2019
Recommended by the Auction：
(QING DYNASTY)BAMBOO ROOT CARVED EIGHTEEN ARHATS RIDING STATUE(18 PIECES)
Lot Number：Z 2006
“Better having no meat in eating than having no bamboos in living.” Bamboo is a symbol of auspiciousness in Chinese culture, and has been favored by the imperial courts and literati for generations for its fresh and noble temperament.
The art of bamboo carving is also a treasure in the traditional Han culture in China. After thousands of inheritance and development, it was in top form in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Buddhist legend has it that the Eighteen Arhats live in the world forever to protect the Buddhist faith. In China, they are featured in most paintings and sculptures of arhats as well as worshiped by followers in most of Buddhist temples.
This whole set of arhat statues is elaborately carved with eighteen bamboo roots. It is very difficult to find eighteen bamboo roots fit for carving arhats because of its naturally irregular shape that man power cannot control.
In addition, carving in-the-round of bamboo roots is distinct from wood carving, stone carving and clay carving. With thin culm-wall and hollow inside, bamboo roots have a feature of hard outside and soft inside. Therefore, their great limitation and small plasticity make them very difficult to be sculptured.
However, the Eighteen Arhats of this set of carving of bamboo roots are in very comfortable and natural riding posture just like this is how they are, without any constraints by the material of bamboo roots. How rare and precious this art work is.
All the Eighteen Arhats sit on the eighteen different creatures presented in diverse and lifelike poses. They include creatures flying in the sky, running on the ground, swimming in the water, and even some mythological beasts.
Each arhat holds a Buddhist instrument dressed in finery. They are vividly portrayed, even the folds of their clothes are meticulously carved. Especially the use of bamboo root texture to depict heads and beards of the figures through ingenious and fluent carving skills reveals a natural beauty of the carving work.
The carving of creatures the arhats ride are quite exquisite and complete. All aspects of their bodies are carefully designed and sculptured from face to limbs, horn to tail.
For example, we can clearly see every single feather on the two wings that the red-crowned crane spreads out. And the waves around the fish are ingeniously carved in three dimensions, showing a lot of fun.
We cannot see that the carving work is made of bamboo roots from the top of the statue. But we can find from the bottom that the belly of each creature is naturally and graphically carved on the foundation of round bamboo joint dividers.
This set of riding statues of the Eighteen Arhats are carved out of a rare material by masterly cutting skills. This grand and stunning art work has excellent ornamental and artistic values. It is a rare work of art with extraordinary values in collection and investment.