3695
3695

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

A GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF YAMANTAKA VAJRABHAIRAVA AND VAJRAVETALI 
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
400,000600,000
JUMP TO LOT
3695

PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

A GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF YAMANTAKA VAJRABHAIRAVA AND VAJRAVETALI 
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
400,000600,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art

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Hong Kong

A GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF YAMANTAKA VAJRABHAIRAVA AND VAJRAVETALI 
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
cast in the form of the yidam and consort standing in alidhasana in ecstatic union, all atop trampled figures, birds and bovine animals supported on a lotus base with a beaded upper edge
17.8 cm, 7 in.
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Provenance

Collection of Nasli Heeramaneck (1902-1971), the Pan-Asian Collection.
Christie's New York, 1st December 1982, lot 114. 
Sotheby's Paris, 16th December 2010, lot 272.

Catalogue Note

The complex and powerfully modelled sculpture depicts Yamantaka Vajrabhairava, the wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Discriminating Wisdom, together with his consort Vajravetali in ecstatic union. The large and ferocious buffalo head of Vajrabhairava with towering, fiery tresses coiled into thick ropes dominate the sculpture and commands the focal point, as it is the same size as the torso and legs. Six fierce human faces wrap around the back of the buffalo head, and are surmounted by a further fierce human face and the head of wrathful Manjushri.

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.

Important Chinese Art

|
Hong Kong