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.
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