Lot 3113
  • 3113

A BRONZE FIGURE OF A KARMAPA LAMA TIBET, 14TH – 15TH CENTURY

Estimate
60,000 - 80,000 HKD
Sold
81,250 HKD
bidding is closed

Description

  • bronze
seated in vajraparyankasana on a double-lotus base with a beaded upper edge, both hands resting on the knees, with downcast eyes and a subtle smile, flanked by large ears and fleshy earlobes, wearing the Karmapa crown adorned with a diamond shape, a sun and crescent moon, clad in robes with richly detailed borders and cascading in folds on the base

Himalayan Art Resources item no. 68309

Exhibited

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 2002-2005, on loan.
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.

Catalogue Note

The richly embellished present lot depicts one of the Gyalwa Karmapas, recognisable by the characteristic double-pointed crown adorned with a sun and moon; the depiction with both hands resting on the knees; and the robe depicted at the reverse of the sculpture with tight vertical folds, all common stylistic conventions of the Karma Kagyu lineages. This particular hand gesture is known as the 'mind refreshing' gesture (Tibetan: sems nyid ngal gso); see Marylin Rhie and Robert Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, London, 1996, p. 441.

The tulkus of the Shamarpa and Karmapa lineages have had a historical relationship of spiritual mentorship and reciprocity since the late thirteenth century. One of the earliest images of a Karmapa wearing the characteristic black abbot's hat can be found on an early thirteenth century thangka in the collection of the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, see ibid.cat. no. 133. 

It is possible that this may depict the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, who was known for his large ears and fleshy earlobes, amongst other distinguishing physical characteristics. Compare the tight, stocky build of the present work with a fifteenth century bronze figure depicting the second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, sold at Christie's New York, 17th October 2001, lot 99.   

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