Lot 1029
  • 1029

A VERY FINE GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF CHAKRASAMVARA AND VAJRAVARAHI Tibet, 15th Century

Estimate
400,000 - 600,000 USD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • Gilt bronze
the deity consort in ecstatic union in dual alidhasana, the deity with four faces wearing the skull crowns with high piled plaits marked with a vishwavajra and topped with a jeweled finial, with twelve arms holding various ritual implements including a ghantadamaru, kartrika, pasha and kapala, the consort Vajravarahi the right leg raised and toes elegantly flexed, the left hand holding a kapala and the right hand holding a kartrika, both standing fiercely atop crushed and supine figures holding various wrathful implements

Provenance

Acquired privately late 1990s.

Private Portland, Oregon collection.

Acquired privately 2014.

Catalogue Note

This elegant sculpture of Chakramsavara and his consort Vajravarahi in ecstatic union demonstrates the apex of the classical Central Tibetan style derived from Nepalese artists in its luxuriant gilding, elegant beading, and exuberant use of semi-precious stone inlay in the regal jewels and headdresses. The present work exhibits many of the hallmarks of the de rigueur Nepalese style with low hairline and broad forehead; wide almond-shaped eyes; wide, powerful shoulders; dynamic movement and posture; elaborate beaded jewelry and tassels; and solid cast ritual implements.

Chakramsavara and Vajravarahi wear the tantric adornments of the six bone ornaments representing the six paramitas or perfections. These textural bone ornaments appear in beaded rows in the present work, and also represent the Five Dhyani Buddhas: (1) the crown of the head, symbolizing dhyana or concentration and Buddha Akshobhya; (2) the earrings that symbolize kshanti or patience and the Buddha Amitabha; (3) the necklace that symbolizes dana or generosity and Buddha Ratnasambhava; (4) the armlets and anklets that symbolize shila or discipline and the Buddha Vairocana; (5) the girdle and apron that symbolizes virya or exertion and Buddha Amoghasiddhi; and (6) the crisscrossed torso ornament that symbolizes prajña or wisdom and Buddha Vajradhara. From Chakrasamvara’s neck hangs a garland of fifty-one severed heads strung on a length of human intestine and the hair of a corpse, signifying both the purification of speech and the purification of the fifty-one mental factors according to the Cittamatra or Mind-Only School as described by Asanga.

Compare stylistic elements with gilt bronzes commonly thought to have been produced for the Densatil monastery, such as the lozenge shaped jewel insets in the crown band of a fourteenth century Ashtabhuja Tara, see Olaf Czaja and Adriana Proser, eds, Golden Visions of Densatil, New York, 2014, p. 125, cat. no. 26, the earring type and physiognomy of a fourteenth century Vajravarahi, ibid, p. 167, cat. no 42.

Himalayan Art Resources item no. 12929

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