Vajrabhairava, or Adamantine Anger, the destroyer of ignorance and fear of death, is one of the principal yidams of the Geluk sect, the Tibetan Buddhist order founded by Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) that was later favoured at the Qing court. The Geluk sect enjoyed increased importance amongst the emperors of the Ming dynasty. From the mid-17th century on, The Geluk lineage were the dominant theocratic power in Tibet through the Dalai Lama, and the sole represented Tibetan Buddhist lineage within China.
Tsongkhapa, as well as the Manchu emperors, were additionally considered manifestations of the bodhisattva Manjushri, explaining in part the popularity of Vajrabhairava within China. The Qing emperors maintained direct links with the Dalai and Panchen Lamas and propagated the Geluk lineage of Buddhism within China, sponsoring the construction of numerous monasteries and temples around the capital of Beijing. Vajrabhairava, the all-powerful manifestation of Manjushri, was thereby symbolic of the ultimate imperial authority. This awe-inspiring statue serves to enforce the imperial mandate while representing the highest ideals of the spiritual path to Buddhist enlightenment.
Another figure of similar size, iconography and workmanship is illustrated by Hung Shih Chang and Jessica P.P. Hsu, eds. Buddhist Art from Rehol: Tibetan Buddhist images and ritual objects from the Qing dynasty Summer Palace at Chengde, Taipei, 1999, p. 122, pl. 46. See also a closely related gilt-bronze figure of Yamantaka and Vajravetali, sold at Christie's New York, 15th-16th March 2015, lot 3214, and another sold more recently in these rooms, 3rd April 2018, lot 3679.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale