Lot 552
  • 552


60,000 - 80,000 USD
bidding is closed


constructed in two parts, the lower component of beehive form cast with four graduated bands representing the 'Four Steps' and surmounted by a cylindrical chamber sealed with a recessed plate, the plate incised with a Tibetan seed syllable om in the center surrounded by the mantras of the Lords of the Three Families arranged in two concentric circles, the incised text in-painted with vermillion pigment, the base sealed with a second plate, the upper component with the bumpa (dome) surmounted by a square harmika incised on one side with a six-character reign mark, and supporting a tapering conical spire divided into thirteen bands and a disc-shaped 'parasol' engraved on the underside with four emblems of the Tathagata Buddhas, all topped with symbols for the sun, moon, and jewel, the surface with traces of red lacquer, the inner chamber of the lower component containing a wood beehive-form box inscribed to the exterior with sutras, the text also in-painted red, and housing scrolls within (2)


Collection of James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf.


A Collecting Odyssey: The Alsdorf Collection of Indian and East Asian Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1997, cat. no. 98.

Catalogue Note

This stupa was originally produced as part of a set of eight stupas, each of which commemorates one of the eight major events in the life of the historical Buddha. At least two such sets were produced in the early Ming dynasty, however, neither set has remained intact. The form of the present stupa, the padmakataka stupa ('Stupa of Heaped Lotuses'), commemorates the birth of Shakyamuni at Lumbini and symbolizes the seven steps which the Buddha took in each of the four directions immediately after his birth.  Compare a similar example illustrated in Art and Faith at the Crossroads: Tibeto-Chinese Buddhist Images and Ritual Implements from the 12th to the 15th Century, Robert Bigler, Zurich, 2013, cat. no. 53. Two more elaborate gilt-bronze versions of the 'Stupa of Heaped Lotuses' are now in the collection of the Tibet Museum in Lhasa, and published in Xue yu cang zhen : Xizang wen wu jing hua / Treasures from Snow Mountain: Gems of Tibetan Cultural Relics, Shanghai Museum, 2001, cat. nos 46 and 47. Additional gilt-bronze stupas that were produced in sets of eight have also been preserved in Lhasa and published in Liu Hongxiao, Budalag ong mi bao / Gems of the Potala, Beijing, 1999, pl. 167.