Often people assume that every sculpture that appears to be Buddhist is therefore of “Buddha”, or next most often, Guanyin. However, there are hundreds of Buddhist deities and important Lama’s, not just Buddha and/or Guanyin. The reason for this confusion is that in the West most people do not realize the sheer number of deities that exist in the Buddhist pantheon and have only heard of the generalized forms of these two most famous icons.
Another point to be made is that there are various forms of both Buddha and Guanyin, let alone all of the other iconography. These break down into different countries, different sects, different symbolism combinations and even fakes that mix the symbols incorrectly, adding more confusion to the mix. It is therefore important to do a little leg work before you decide to sell or auction your Buddhist iconography, as it is possible that you may end up being taken advantage of by a dealer or collector who knows more than you, and/or an auction house may not know enough to be able to differentiate between an important buddhist sculpture and a common one – this can break in your favor, but more often does not.
If you truly believe you have something important and valuable, then it is more than worth the cost of hiring specialist experts like Greg C. Brown & Associates, Inc. to asset you, as our entire purpose is to make sure you get the true facts.
Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.
The following 4 images come from the Zanzabar Museum of Fine Art in Monglia and represent four different forms of buddhist iconography which are frequently generalized by the public to be either “Buddha” or “Guanyin”: 1) the Amitayus Buddha, 2) a Arhat/Buddhist Elder, 3) the White Tara/Vajrasattva, 4) Avalokiteshvara/Chaturbhuja