Lot 1036
  • 1036


800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • gilt-bronze
  • Height: 12  3/4  in. (32.5 cm)
the Buddha wearing a diaphanous monk’s robe over the left shoulder, with hands in dharmachakra mudra, seated in vajraparyankasana on a lotus pedestal, a throne beneath draped with an altar cloth decorated with inset semi-precious stones, crouching lions at either end, a scrolling vine and floral motif at centre and continuing at the sides and to the rear, with an undecorated panel at the back with the remains of a securing tang Himalayan Art Resources item no. 13474.


Yan Wing Arts Co., Hong Kong, 1991-1995. 

Catalogue Note

This radiant image in gem-set gilt copper depicts the Buddha Shakyamuni with his hands in the gesture of turning the Buddhist Wheel of Law and expounding the dharma. The lions in the throne are a symbol of the Buddha’s Shakya clan, and an ancient Indian emblem of royalty and power. Scrolling vine around the base represents the branches and tendrils of the lotus on which the Buddha is seated, the flower symbolising purity and renunciation. The sculpture epitomises the qualities of Newar master artists working for Tibetan patrons in the fourteenth century. Nepalese sculptural traditions are seen in the simple yet sensuously modeled, and perfectly proportioned figure of Buddha, the subtle colour of the expertly inset gem decoration on the throne cloth below and the rich hue of the mercury gilding. The pedestal design reflects Tibetan preference for sculptural embellishment in the exuberance of the scrolling vine motif, compare a central Tibetan seated gem-set gilt copper alloy figure of Manjushri with scrolling vine throne, see Pratapaditya Pal, Art of the Himalayas, New York, 1991, p. 125, cat. no. 65, where Pal notes that such floral design along the bottom of the lotus base is commonly seen on Tibetan painting of the period but almost never on Nepalese bronzes.

The rectangular undecorated panel at the back of the throne indicates how the statue was placed in a larger temple setting: where now there is a hole, a sturdy tang once protruded which would have been used to locate and secure the statue in its designated position, cf. the statues of Densatil that are fixed in position in this manner, see Olaf Czaja and Adriana Proser, eds, Golden Visions of Densatil, New York, 2014, p. 46-7.

Compare the scrolling vine throne, the lotus petal design, the subtle inset jewellery and the clean and elegant sculptural line of a fourteenth century gilt copper alloy Amoghasiddhi in the Berti Aschmann Collection at the Museum Rietberg, that was included in the 2014 exhibition “Golden Visions of Densatil: A Tibetan Buddhist Monastery” at Asia Society Museum, ibid., cat. no. 31: compare also the scrolling vine motif on the lotus pedestals of two Vajravarahi gilt bronzes from Densatil, ibid., cat. nos. 42-3. Compare also a fourteenth century gilt copper alloy Vajrasattva in the Drigung Thil monastery collection, with similar scrolling vine motif on the pedestal and subtle inset jewellery, see Ulrich von Schroeder, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, Hong Kong, 2001, Vol. II, p. 1041, pl. 260.