118
118

METALWORK AND CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

A rare gilt-bronze figure of Shyama Tara
Ming dynasty, Early 15th century, with a later Qianlong mark
SALTAR AL LOTE
118

METALWORK AND CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

A rare gilt-bronze figure of Shyama Tara
Ming dynasty, Early 15th century, with a later Qianlong mark
SALTAR AL LOTE

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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A rare gilt-bronze figure of Shyama Tara
Ming dynasty, Early 15th century, with a later Qianlong mark
seated in lalitasana on a double-lotus base, the right hand held in varadamudra and the left raised to the chest in vitarkamudra, both supporting uptala lotuses rising to the shoulders along the elbows, wearing a dhoti and a loose shawl over the shoulder, adorned with bejewelled necklaces around the waist and the chest, the face with a benevolent expression, crowned with a five-leaf tiara in front of a high chignon, the front edge of the lotus base incised with a seven-character reign mark reading Da Qing Qianlong nian jingzao (Respectfully made in the Qianlong period in the Great Qing dynasty), the underside incised with a double vajra
26cm., 10 1/4 in.
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Procedencia

Sotheby's New York, 7th April 1986, lot 89.
Eskenazi Ltd., London.

Nota del catálogo

Tara is worshipped by Buddhists as a saviour and liberator from samsara, the earthly realm of birth and rebirth. In Tibetan mythology, Tara, with her face ‘embodying the delicacy of a million lotus blossoms’, appeared from within a lotus bud on a lake of tears shed for the suffering of sentient beings by the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (see Glenn H. Mullin, in Mystical Verses of a Dalai Lama, New Delhi, 2003, p. 57, for the translation of a commentary on Tara by the First Dalai Lama).

 

As in Tibet, the cult of Tara was clearly popular at the Yongle court and at least nine gilt bronze Taras of the period remain: one formerly in the Usher P. Coolidge collection, published in Heather Karmay, Early Sino-Tibetan Art, Warminster, 1975, pl. 56; one in the Art Institute of Chicago, illustrated in Ulrich von Shroeder, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, vol. 2, Hong Kong, 2001, pl. 144D; one in the Chang Foundation, published in Buddhist Images in Gilt Metal, Taipei, 1993, pl. 48; two included in the exhibition On the Path to Enlightenment. The Berti Aschmann Foundation of Tibetan Art at the Museum Rietberg Zurich, Rietberg Museum, Zurich, 1995, cat. nos 92-93; two in Tibetan monastery collections, illustrated in Ulrich von Shroeder, op. cit., pls 536C-6F; one from the Jules Speelman collection, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 7th October 2006, lot 806; and the present figure. As testimony to the variety and originality found in Yongle sculpture, these nine Taras are all markedly different from one another while remaining faithful to common stylistic requirements of the Yongle ateliers. Some are aristocratic in appearance like the present example: the larger of the two in the Aschmann collection is more austere, while the Tara formerly in the Coolidge collection has a charming rounded figure. All, however, are finished and gilded to perfection, adorned with the Yongle hallmark jewellery and broad-petalled lotus pedestals typical of larger gilt bronze figures such as the present piece.

 

This sculpture has an elegance and delicacy as befits the sensuous and youthful female form of the goddess. Her hands are held in gentle and expressive gestures of charity and reassurance; attributes which are reinforced through the remnants of pigment, most notably in her eyes. The compassion she is said to have for all sentient beings is expressed in the sublime countenance of this sophisticated Yongle bronze.

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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Londres