Property from the Tuyet Nguyet and Stephen Markbreiter Collection 雪月藏亞洲藝術珍品

A rare parcel-gilt copper-alloy set of vajra and bell handle Ming dynasty, early 15th century | 明十五世紀初 局部鎏金銅金剛鈴柄及金剛杵一組兩件

Auction Closed

May 26, 02:57 AM GMT


150,000 - 250,000 HKD

Lot Details


Property from the Tuyet Nguyet and Stephen Markbreiter Collection

A rare parcel-gilt copper-alloy set of vajra and bell handle

Ming dynasty, early 15th century


明十五世紀初 局部鎏金銅金剛鈴柄及金剛杵一組兩件

23 and 18 cm

It is extremely rare to find a set of ritual vajra and bell created in the early 15th century. Although the bell itself appears to be a later replacement, the precise casting style and texture of the decoration and patina on the vajra handle of the bell closely match that of the vajra itself. The intricacy of the construction of both ritual vessels, especially the powerful articulation of the Buddha heads on the bell, and makara heads on both, pay testimony to the consummate skill of the Yongle or Xuande court craftsmen.

The vajra bell (ghanta) is the companion of the vajra sceptre, representing the voidness of wisdom that is indivisible from great bliss, and the clear light transparency of ultimate voidness that complements the body of Buddhahood. Beneath the vajra handle, there is a Buddha with five-pointed jewel crown representing the five transcendent Buddhas, which are also represented by the five prongs of the vajra itself. The central round spot of the vajra handle represents the Buddha Vajrasattva, the archetypal Tantric Buddha form. The prongs emerge from the mouths of four makaras who dwell at the bottom of the universe ocean.

The pairing of the vajra with the bell symbolises compassion or the 'male' skill in means for salvation; the bell was the symbol of supreme knowledge seen as female. Together they constituted a unity of coefficients for salvation. Held in the right and left hands respectively to make elaborate ritual movements, they are also the attributes of many deities.

For other bells of this type with a Xuande reign mark and of the period, see one, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Cultural Relics of Tibetan Buddhism Collected in the Qing Palace, Hong Kong, 1992, pl. 132-1, one sold in these rooms, 9th October 2012, lot 311 and another included in the exhibition Sacred Symbols: The Ritual Art of Tibet, New York, 1999, cat. no. 11.  Another 15th century gilt copper alloy vajra and bell from the collection of the second Dalai Lama, now in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in Tibetan Buddhist Art in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2016, p. 226, fig. V-58.




參考北京故宮博物院藏一件銘宣德年製款金剛鈴,錄於《清宮藏傳佛教文物》,香港,1992年,圖版 132-1,還有一例售於香港蘇富比,2012年10月9日,編號311;另一例展於《Sacred Symbols: The Ritual Art of Tibet》,紐約,1999年,編號11。十五世紀達賴喇嘛二世之鎏金銅金剛杵,現藏台北故宮博物院,刊於《院藏藏傳佛教文物》,台北,2016年,頁 226,圖 V-58。