University Archives

Lot 183

Previous image preload Next image preload


Jack Kerouac's Personally Owned Monumental Porcelain Statue of Guanyin, Nearly 28" High

A monumental Chinese Export porcelain statue of Guanyin, a central figure in the Buddhist pantheon, ca. after 1890. The statue was personally owned by Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the famous mid-century American writer who brought us "On The Road" (1957), and is photo-identified displayed on top of a vintage floor model television at the author's last home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Provenance: The lot will be accompanied by an estate certification signed by John Shen-Sampas, executor of the Kerouac Estate by descent. John Shen-Sampas is the son of John Sampas, who was the brother-in-law of Jack Kerouac, and the brother of Stella Kerouac, Jack's wife.

The statue, of white ground porcelain, has under-glaze cobalt blue accents and shiny gilt over-glaze accents throughout. The figure's face, crown, and jewelry have been hand-painted. Stamped with a bilingual "Made in China" mark on the underside of the base. The hollow cast mold has no apparent chips or crazing. Light isolated stains and two possible hairline cracks are located on the underside of the base (not visible) and likely reflect the manufacturing process. Isolated areas of surface grime (consistent with dust mixed with particulates including tobacco smoke) can easily be removed with a wet cloth. Else near fine. Measuring 27.5" high by 13" wide at its widest part and 8.5" deep at its deepest part.

Guanyin is depicted here in her most common guise: as a young, beautiful woman. Dressed in a flowing white robe symbolizing purity, Guanyin is shown sitting cross-legged on a lotus pedestal throne. Her hands are templed in the namaskara mudra, which is a gesture of prayer, worship, and greeting. Her crown depicts the silhouette of Amitabha, her spiritual mentor, while her jewelry suggests royalty and worldly wealth. An ambrosial vase is depicted at her feet, which perhaps could be used to contain real fresh-cut flowers. (Guanyin is typically depicted holding this jar of water in her left hand, with a willow branch symbolizing flexibility in her right hand, but the iconography of the water jar still functions in the same way--to provide life-giving comfort to the suffering.)

Guanyin is among the most widely revered of Buddhist bodhisattvas, or, individuals on the path towards Buddhahood. Guanyin is sometimes called the Mercy Goddess since she/he is associated with compassion and maternal love. Guanyin's extreme awareness of and sensitivity to suffering gives her the power to adopt any physical form regardless of gender, age, or entity, though in modern times, Guanyin is frequently depicted as female.

The statue will be accompanied by three color photographic prints showing the statue as it was once displayed in the living room of Kerouac's last home, 5169 10th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, Florida. The statue was positioned at the extreme left of Kerouac's vintage floor model television, sharing the space with an oversized table lamp, a framed photograph of the author, and an Imari palette vase. John Sampas, John's brother-in-law between 1966-1969 and later the executor of his estate, is shown seated in the chair next to the television.

This statue corroborates what we know about Kerouac's passionate interest in Asian culture, spirituality, and religion. After being introduced to Buddhism in the mid-1950s, Kerouac devoted himself to its study, interpretation, and practice. His works "Some of the Dharma" (1955-56) and "The Dharma Bums" (1958) explore the mid-century American quest for enlightenment. Kerouac wrote haiku poetry in addition to his novels. He also collected Asian objets d'art and exhibited them around his home. John Shen-Sampas, executor of the Jack Kerouac Estate, wrote that this statue of Guanyin is "particularly important in the collection, since Jack had it for many years for spiritual reasons."

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000