A thrilling find! This totally unique altarpiece is from Yixing, an area of China famous for fermented and sun dried dark red clay. In China Samantabhadra was called Pu-hsien and in Japan Fu-gen, the Bodhisattva of Universal Kindness. Yixing has been famous for clay works for 5000 years, with the dark red clay pottery creations dating from the Southern Sung dynasty. This extraordinary piece is entirely unique, made of dark red hand made clay with porcelain enameled surfaces in the brilliant yellows and greens associated with Samantabhadra. Samantabhadra is the famous Bodhisattva of Happiness. He represents the “happiness of Buddha’s Enlightenment” and has a following of devotees second only to Guan Yin (Guanshiyin). Often Guan Yin (Kuan Yin) and Samantabhadra appear together on altars with Shakyamuni Buddha (The Historical Buddha), with Guanshiyin representing Buddha’s compassion and Samantabhadra his happiness. In this wonderful piece Samantabhadra is surrounded by six cosmic Buddhas and stands on a colorful lotus on sea waves. The lovely face shows the calm beauty typical of the Chinese Bodhisattva. Amita (Amitabha) Buddha adorns the tall chignon. Along with Maitreya, who represents “Buddha’s loving kindness” and Guanshiyin (“he who looks down with compassion”), Samantabhadra is one of the three celestial saviors. True devotees of Samantabhadra consider him the first Dhyani-Bodhisattva representing Universal Kindness. Classic Samantabhadra pose, with right hand in the Vitarka Mudra (the hand raised with the thumb and index touching. He holds the septre of power, the nyo-i (baton of power) in his left hand. Although not riding the classical elephant (typical of Chinese statues) his identity is confirmed by the mudra, the yellow robes and the septre (also associated with the “magic scroll” of enlightenment and the cintamani magic jewel). Often Samantabhadra forms a trinity with Shakya-muni (historical Buddha) and Manjusri (wisdom Boddhisatva). As the first Dhyani-Bodhisattva he is associated with the first Dhyani-Buddha Vairocana. Absolutely unique, brilliantly colored, Samantabhadra stands 18 inches (47cm).