AN INSCRIBED GILT-BRONZE PORTRAIT OF THE FIFTH SHAMARPA, KÖNCHOK YENLAK TIBET, 16TH – 17TH CENTURY
- gilt bronze
- 7in. high; 6¾in. wide
Himalayan Art Resources item no. 13449
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.