A GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA MING DYNASTY, 15TH CENTURY
1,800,000 - 2,500,000 HKD
bidding is closed
seated in vajraparyankasana, the right hand held in bhumisparshamudra, the left in dhyanamudra, wearing a pleated robe and sash finely hemmed with incised lotus scrolls on a stippled ground, draped over his shoulders and falling in loose folds over his crossed legs, his gentle face with sensuous lips and finely drawn eyebrows centred with the urna, the eyes downcast in a meditative expression, the ears with long pendulous lobes and the hairs arranged in rows of tight curls covering the domed ushnisha, supported on a rounded triangular double lotus base with beaded edges, the base unsealed
There are some pitting and wear in areas on the gilt surface, more pronounced on the hand, forearms and shoulders, the base is unsealed but overall the sculpture is in good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
The iconographic pose in which the Buddha is seated with his right hand in the earth-touching position, bhumisparsa mudra
, recalls a momentous episode from his spiritual journey in which he triumphs over Mara just prior to his enlightenment. Having vowed to remain in meditation until he penetrated the mystery of existence, Shakyamuni was visited by Mara, a demon associated with the veils and distractions of mundane existence, who sought to deflect him from his goal. Aided by spirits who reminded him of the countless compassionate efforts he had made on behalf of sentient beings throughout his numerous animal and human incarnations, Shakyamuni recognised that it was his destiny to be poised on the threshold of enlightenment. Therefore, in response to Mara's query, Shakyamuni moved his right hand from the meditation position and touched the ground, stating, 'the earth is my witness'. This act of unwavering resolve caused Mara and his army of demons and temptresses to disperse, leaving Shakyamuni to experience his Great Enlightenment.
Two slightly larger figures of this type, but inscribed and dated to 1507 and 1513, were sold in our London rooms, 25th February 1975, lot 61, and 14th March 1972, lot 18 respectively. This classic iconography of Shakyamuni Buddha is famously represented in two complete imperial altar shrines, one in the British Museum, London, illustrated in W. Zwalf, ed., Buddhism: Art and Faith, London, 1985, pl. 305, and the other from the Speelman collection, sold in these rooms, 7th October 2006, lot 808.