Lot 3148
  • 3148

AN INSCRIBED GILT-BRONZE PORTRAIT OF THE FIFTH SHAMARPA, KÖNCHOK YENLAK TIBET, 16TH – 17TH CENTURY

Estimate
120,000 - 180,000 HKD
Sold
325,000 HKD
bidding is closed

Description

  • gilt bronze
  • 7in. high; 6¾in. wide
the lama seated cross-legged on a lotus throne, both hands resting on the knees, wearing a patchwork inner vest heightened with foliate motif, the skirt fastened high around the waist and secured with a thick belt, with heavy outer robe further heightened with foliate motif and wrapped around both shoulders to fall in vertical pleats down the back, the reverse with Tibetan inscription

Himalayan Art Resources item no. 13449

Provenance

Christie's London, 11th December 1973, lot 35.

Catalogue Note

The Tibetan inscription on the reverse of this elegant bronze identifies this figure as the Fifth Shamar Rinpoche, Könchok Yenlak (1525-1583). The inscription reads:

Homage to the victorious Shamar-chöpen-dzinpa Könchok Yenlak!

The first Shamar tulku, Kedrub Dragpa Senggé, was recognised by the third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje in 1283, and presented with a red replica of the unique, double-peaked black hat for which the Karmapa was known. From this point the incarnation lineage of Kedrub Dragpa Senggé was known as the Shamar or Red Hat lineage. Könchok Yenlak was a disciple of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje, who identified the latter as a child and passed on the entirety of the Karma Kagyü transmission.

Recognisable themes and stylistic tropes emerged from the Karma Kagyü metal casting ateliers, and many sixteenth and seventeenth century bronzes depicting Karma Kagyü lineage holders bear striking similarities. Compare the rounded lotus petals and interspersed leaf motif, and stepped base with single row of beaded pearls with a small protruding lower lip, with a seventeenth century gilt-bronze figure of the Kagyü poet-saint Milarepa, see Donald Dinwiddie, et al., Portraits of the Masters: Bronze Sculptures of the Tibetan Buddhist Lineages, Chicago, 2003, pp. 144-145, cat. no. 20; and on another seventeenth century gilt-bronze figure depicting a Shamarpa, likely Konchog Yanlag, sold in our New York rooms, 15th March 2017, lot 220. Compare also the concentric sunburst pattern incised on the outer robes of both Shamar bronzes, the distinctive treatment of the robe hanging in a tight arc across the knees and tucked neatly under the feet, and the vertical folds on the back of the robe.

Sotheby’s is extremely grateful for the assistance of Yannick Laurent, Wolfson College, Oxford University, in translating the Tibetan and providing the research for this lot.

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