A Finely Carved Wood Figure of Guandi, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
Modelled seated in a confident stance, wearing long robes with finely defined armour, the hair covered with a scholar’s headscarf, the face with a content expression, some pigments remain
height 31.1" — 79.1 cm.
A similar example was sold at Christie’s London, King Street, November 8, 2011, lot 240.
For another similar example, please see Sotheby’s London, May 13, 2009, lot 85
From the Collection of Robert Stephenson (lots 49-56)
Bob was born in Brantford, Ontario in 1948. After receiving an honours degree in physics, mathematics and chemistry, he pursued a successful career in banking. In 1980, he was transferred from Vancouver to Asia with the Toronto Dominion Bank, and it was there that he fell in love with Asian art. He began collecting Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean pieces, and became particularly enamoured with figures of the Buddha, explaining that they gave him a sense of “peace and serenity”. To accommodate his growing collection, Bob began to sell various pieces, and in 1983 he and a friend, Nonny Clemete, established their company Artifacts. When the bank proposed Bob’s relocation to North America in 1984, he opted to trade in his suit and tie for his signature silk-shirt-and-black-pant ensemble, and focused all of his time on collecting and dealing in Asian art. He expanded Artifacts internationally, establishing showrooms in Hong Kong, Brussels, Toronto and Manila, and also opened a factory workshop in Manila where furniture was produced. Bob’s passion for Asian art was enduring, and despite his success in banking, he asserted that “I know I am much happier this way. Maybe I have to work twice as hard, but I am also having twice as much fun doing what I do.” While he amassed an impressive collection throughout his career, perhaps his most prized piece was the Thai Chien Seng Buddha from the 15th or 16th century (lot 54), which can be seen in the portrait of Bob by a renowned Toronto artist.
Department: Asian Art