Hidden Treasures Inside a Gilt-Bronze Bodhisattva

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Chinese Works of Art specialist Cecilia Zi describes her delight at discovering the mysteries within this rare Xuande-period gilt-bronze figure of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
‘My first impressions were, “Is this right? Is this too good to be true?”,’ reveals Cecilia Zi, Chinese Works of Art specialist at Christie’s in London. She is referring to the first time she encountered this rare Xuande-period, gilt-bronze seated figure of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
Zi and her colleagues spotted the sculpture when they were doing a valuation visit at the property of Soame Jenyns, the former Keeper of Asian Art at the British Museum. Little did they know then that there is more to the bronze than meets the eye. As our specialist quickly discovered, the figure is hollow inside and the base is sealed with a copper plate.
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