19th Century Antique Chinese Carved Budai Hotei Laughing Buddha 大笑佛 Soapstone Statue
Antique Chinese Soapstone Carving
LAUGHING BUDDHA 大笑佛
Seated in Royal Ease
Circa: Qing Dynasty, 1800-early 1900s'
H 8 in. (20 cm), W 7.5 in. (19cm), D 3 in. (7.5 cm)
Condition: hairlines, small chips, overall good.
The Laughing Buddha is a historical monk and a Chinese mythical version of Maitreya Future Buddha. Budai or Hotei 布袋, his name literally means "Cloth Sack". He is also known as the Happy Buddha and identified as a merry figure of good fortune and prosperity. Rotund and amicable, with directness and free of unnecessary ornamentation, buoyantly composed curvilinear draping robe, this Laughing Buddha is deeply carved in the classic royal ease posture (lalitasana), with treasure sack in the left hand, and the right hand resting on the knee with a string of mala prayer beads. The focal point is in the realistic rendering of the Laughing Buddha's facial expression. The carving comes alive through the Buddha's big smile that clearly reveals his intricately carved teeth, whereas his smiling eyes radiate a state of inner joy reveals the mastery of the Qing carver. Though beyond the artistic excellence are the age-related imperfections, including a crack off the halo, a few hairlines, and small ding markings are visible on this superb carving.