Lot 26
  • 26


80,000 - 100,000 GBP
75,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • 28cm high
a large and unprecedented repoussé gold figure of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara depicted in rigid frontal posture, arms bent, both hands in katakamudra (holding gesture) once holding attributes, the palms marked of the Dharmacakra (Wheel of Law).  Wearing a double necklace (hara) made of two rows of curved beads symmetrically arranged around a central pendant, a waistband (udarabanda) with similar beads on both sides of a threefold medallion, and high armlets (keyura) composed of a foliated triangular plaque attached to a thin and undecorated metal band.  Exceptionally tall and sophisticated jatamukuta (headdress) with long matted hair arranged on both sides of the face in seven vertical hair locks cascading to the shoulders and crowned by a cylindrical protuberance meant to receive a now missing decorative element, most likely a precious stone.  The upper head cavity containing a foundation offering comprised of two gold scrolls, a ruby, and bits of gold and silver.  The headdress supporting an intriguing image of the Buddha Amitabha shown seated on a large double lotus pedestal, hands appearing to form a peculiar mundra in lieu of the expected dhyanmudra and head topped by a most curious feature resembling a hood or a massive headdress of long thick hair falling down the shoulders. The throne-like lotus pedestal with a small central pattern possibly depicting a triratna symbol (three jewels) or a fully blossomed lotus.  The facial features with rounded oval face, joined sinuous eyebrows, slanted well lidded eyes, well proportioned fine nose, and small thick lips.  Portrayed with the beauty of youth, a gentle smile contrasting with curved eyebrows and intense spiritual gazing eyes, this very powerful figure likely represents the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in his aspect of Jatamakuta-Lokesvara the "Lord of the World". The antecedents of this exceptional sculpture can be traced to Southern India's Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu while comparable towering jatamukuta can be found in contemporaneous images from Srivijaya, particularly in Chaiya of peninsular Thailand. Its gold repoussé technique of fabrication as well as its facial features are specifically Cham and not without recalling Cham gold Shiva heads or kosas of the same period now in Western museums and private collections. No similar gold figure appears to have ever been recovered.  For references see:  Boisselier, Jean, "La statuaire du Champa", Paris, 1963; Baptiste, Pierre, Zéphir, Terry et al, "Trésors d'art du Vietnam, la sculpture du Champa, Ve-XVe siècles", Guimet Musuem, Paris, 2005; Chutiwongs, Nandana, "The Iconography of Avalokiteshvara in Mainland Southeast Asia", New Delhi, 2002; Chutiwongs, Nandana & Patry Leidy, Denise, "Buddha of the Future", The Asia Society, New York, 1994; Guy, John, "South Indian Buddhism and its Southeast Asian Legacy", in "Cultural Interface of India with Asia, Religion, Art and Architechture", New Delhi, 2004


Ha Thuc Can Collection, Singapore, acquired prior to the early 1970s