Lot 3116
  • 3116

A BRONZE FIGURE OF SIMHAMUKHA TIBET, 16TH – 17TH CENTURY

Estimate
300,000 - 500,000 HKD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Bronze
dancing in ardhaparyankasana with the left foot trampling a supine figure and the right knee bent and supported on an utpala stalk, all atop a lotus base with a beaded upper edge, the raised right hand holding a kartrika and the left hand holding a kapala filled with roiling amrita, adorned with beaded jewellery and a garland of severed human heads, with fangs bared and tongue curled, wearing a crown of five skulls with fiery billowing tresses

Himalayan Art Resources item no. 68316

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

Simhamukha, the lion-faced dakini, is common to both the Nyingma and Sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism. In the Nyingma tradition, Simhamukha manifests as the secret form of Padmasambhava; whilst in the Sakya, Kagyu and Geluk schools of the Sarma tradition, Simhamukha is associated with the Chakrasamvara Tantras as a yidam or meditational deity.  

An elegant symmetry is created in the present lot by the use of the utpala stalk on the base element to create a countersupport. Evidence of this stylistic convention in Tibetan sculpture appears as early as the thirteenth century; see two bronze figures depicting Vajravarahi from the Zimmerman Collection published in Pratapaditya Pal, Art of the Himalayas: Treasures from Nepal and Tibet, New York, 1991, pp. 114-116, cat. no. 57a-b. 

Compare the beaded girdle, stepped base with an upper row of beaded pearls; bulbous utpala petals; long garland of skulls reaching down to the right heel; and utpala stalk strut supporting the right knee bent in graceful ardhaparyankasana of the present work with a sixteenth century ungilt bronze figure of Vashyavajravarahi in the Victoria and Albert Museum published in Ulrich von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, pp. 470-471, cat. no. 129G.

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