This classic iconography of Shakyamuni Buddha is famously represented in two complete Yongle altar shrines, one in the British Museum, illustrated in Wladimir Zwalf, ed., Buddhism: Art and Faith, London, 1985, cat. 305, and the other from the Speelman Collection, sold in these rooms, 7th October 2006, lot 808. Yongle reign-marked images of Shakyamuni Buddha in this smaller scale are relatively rare. Only one was recorded in Ulrich von Schroeder's survey of Tibetan monastery collections, preserved in the Potala Palace, illustrated in Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, Hong Kong, 2001, vol. II, pl. 358A; another, with the reign mark erased, is now in a private collection, Ulrich von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong 1981, pl. 146D.
A closely related Yongle gilt-bronze Shakyamuni from the Tuyet Nguyet and Stephen Markbreiter collection was sold in these rooms, 7th October 2010, lot 2142. The size and iconography of the current figure is identical, but the form of the current figure slightly differs, more slender in proportion with higher sloping shoulders. The treatment of the elegant lotus pedestal also departs from the standard convention of Yongle bronzes, more sharply defined and curving out at the tips. The overall condition is good, and it retains the consecration plate beneath engraved with the designated visvavajra.
Other Yongle reign-marked gilt-bronze figures of Shakyamuni include a classic version in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Splendors from the Yongle (1403-1424) and Xuande (1426-1435) Reigns of China's Ming Dynasty, Beijing, 2010, p. 244, pl. 118, and the large example (55 cm) sold in these rooms, 8th October 2013, lot 3075.
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