COLLECTION PARTICULIÈRE FRANÇAISE
'Homage to the Omniscient One Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. Sarva Mangalam'
It identifies this figure as the fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (1617-1682), one of the most significant figures in Tibetan political and religious history. Renowned as 'The Great Fifth' for his skills as a diplomat and politician, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso was the first Dalai Lama to assume both spiritual and secular leadership within a newly unified Central Tibet. He commissioned the construction of the Potala palace, his headquarters and monastery, and the Lukhang, his private meditation temple built within a man-made lake. He also is credited with engineering the demise of the aristocratic military hegemony by forcing their residency in Lhasa and bestowing key political positions upon them. Thus power was centralized in the capital under the direct auspices of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, establishing the dynastic government that survived in Tibet until 1959, see Martin Brauen, The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History, Chicago, 2005, pp. 64.
This elegant gilt-bronze figure of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama presents a compelling portrait of the celebrated seventeenth century Tibetan leader. Great attention has been given to this portrait, the distinctly recognisable face with wide eyes and a receding hairline, as well as the imposing girth of his figure. This portrait may be related compared to a bronze sculpture of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso in a similar seated position but with different mudra in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (acc. no. 50.3606), and to another gilt-bronze portrait of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, from the collection of Markus Speidel, Birmensdorf, and also to the one from the Tibet House, New York (no. inv.: 1971.267), all illustrated in Martin Brauen, Les Dalaï Lama, Lausanne, 2005, pp. 86-87. Compare also with another gilt-copper alloy portrait figure of the Fifth Dalai Lama, sold at Sotheby's New York, 13th September 2016, lot 161.
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