Lot 3108
  • 3108

A RARE COPPER AND BRONZE FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA SEATED ON A THRONE TIBET, PALA STYLE, 11TH – 12TH CENTURY

Estimate
2,500,000 - 3,500,000 HKD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Gilt-bronze with copper
  • 14.6 cm, 5 3/4  in.
seated in vajraparyankasana, the right hand in bhumisparshamudra and the left in dhyanamudra, seated upon a cushion embroidered with floral motifs and kirtimukha, all atop a stepped throne ornamented with two elephants and addorsed lions flanking two central figures
Himalayan Art Resources item no. 68428

Exhibited

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1996-2005, on loan.
The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet: Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, October-December 1999.
Arte Buddhista Tibetana: Dei e Demoni dell' Himalaya, Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin, June-September 2004.
Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 2005-2017, on loan.
Casting the Divine: Sculptures of the Nyingjei Lam Collection, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 2012-2013.

Literature

David Weldon and Jane Casey Singer, 'Buddhist Sculpture from the Nyingjei Lam Collection', Orientations, Hong Kong, October 1999, fig. 11.
David Weldon and Jane Casey Singer, The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet: Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection, London, 1999, figs 26-27.
Franco Ricca, Arte Buddhista Tibetana: Dei e Demoni dell'Himalaya, Turin, 2004, fig. 69.
Casting the Divine. Sculptures of the Nyingjei Lam Collection, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 2012-2013, p. 5.

Catalogue Note

This finely cast sculpture depicts the Buddha seated in bhumisparsa mudra on a stepped throne, commemorating the moment he attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya. The figures on the openwork throne represent the earth goddess whom Buddha called to witness in his battle with Mara and his demonic hoards, and a donor.  An eleventh century Pala bronze of similar iconography and decoration in the National Museum, New Delhi, is discussed and illustrated by David Weldon and Jane Casey Singer, The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet, loc.cit., figs 28-29, where they conject that the whole group of this iconography, of which the current sculpture is an example of at least six, may be based on an original image in stone at the Mahabodhi Temple, now lost.

The current sculpture is closely related to two famous examples, one from the Qing Court Collection, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Buddhist Statues of Tibet: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2008, pl. 66; the other in the John D. Rockefeller III Collection, illustrated in Denise Patry Leidy, Treasures of Asian Art. The Asia Society’s Mr. and Mrs. John Rockefeller 3rd Collection, New York, 1994, fig.66. Of similar size and identical iconography, they all share the same rare design of the elaborate throne and cushion. The skilful use of two contrasting metals – red copper for the robe and a copper alloy for the body of the Buddha – reflects the influence of Kashmiri traditions from western Tibet, but the overall design of the figure, throne and cushion closely follow Pala traditions. See also another example with similar openwork throne in the collection of the Potala Palace, illustrated by Ulrich von Schroeder, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, Hong Kong, 2001, vol. 1, no. 85A, catalogued as ‘late Pala style, eleventh/twelfth century'. Another closely related example from the same group of figures, differing in the form of the beaded base, was sold in our New York rooms, 25th March 1999, lot 60.

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