Important Cambodian Lokeshvara sculpture may see $395,500 at Christie's

Christie's final auction of 2012 - the Asian Art sale - will take place in Paris on December 19, with a "highly important" Cambodian sculpture of the Buddhist deity Lokeshvara selling with the highest estimate.

Lokeshvara sculpture Cambodia christie's
Lokeshvara, or Avalokiteshvara, is widely represented in Buddhist art

Depicting Lokeshvara, otherwise known as the "Lord of the World", the sculpture will be offered with a $263,518-395,277 valuation. Carved from sandstone, it was created during the Baphuon period in 11th century Cambodia.

The Baphuon period is considered the high point in the depiction of both male and female form in Khmer art, with this stunning example showing the Buddhist deity of compassion. Hinduism was prevalent in Cambodia at the time with Buddhism known in just a few areas, making this an extremely rare piece.

Adding to the sculpture's rarity is the fact that Lokeshvara was not widely worshipped until the 13th century in Cambodia. Later bronze and stone examples are far more common, with the designs suggesting that the example at auction would have held various objects in his four arms and may have been decorated with jewellery.

Holding an identical estimate is another carving of the same deity, who is known as Guanyin in China. This northern Chinese piece dates to the 13th century and shows the bodhisattva in lalitasana pose.

The piece is based around the story of a young pilgrim finding Guanyin in a grotto, which suggests that he may originally have been placed on a rocky base. A comparable example is currently housed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

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