A FINE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF BUDDHA SHAKYAMUNI ON A LION THRONE TIBET, 14TH CENTURY
- Height: 12 3/4 in. (32.5 cm)
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.