A rare partially cold-gilt bronze figure of multi-armed Manjushri, Qianlong mark and period | 清乾隆 銅局部鎏金文殊菩薩坐像 《大清乾隆年敬造》《文殊菩薩》《無上陽體根本》款
Property from the Estate of Allen O. Battle, Ph.D
A rare partially cold-gilt bronze figure of multi-armed Manjushri
Qianlong mark and period
seated atop a lotus pedestal, the principal right hand held in karana mudra, with the left holding a ghanta, two additional pairs of arms fanning out around the body, the hands bearing attributes including a sword, vajra, and ghanta wearing a dhoti with chased 'brocade' borders, a fluttering scarf and ornate jewelry, the three faces each framed by a three-leafed crown encircling a multi-tiered topknot surmounted by a flaming jewel, the deity's skin cold-gilded, the hair and facial features detailed in pigments, the front of the lotus pedestal cast with a horizontal reign mark Da Qing Qianlong Nian Jing Zao, incised below with Wenshu pusa (Manjushri bodhisattva); the back of the pedestal incised with Wushang yangti genben (Supreme yoga father tantra class)
Height 6 ½ in., 16.7 cm
In overall good condition. The sword is loose and can be removed, and two small dents to the right ribbon draping over the lotus base. Minor wear to gilding.
For more information on and additional videos for this lot, please contact Randi.Yiu@sothebys.com.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Collection of Baron Alexander von Staël-Holstein (1876-1937).
Mathias Komor, New York, 29th November 1950.
Collection of Dr. Allen O. Battle, Ph.D (1927-2020).
Alexander von Staël-Holstein 男爵 (1876-1937) 收藏
Allen O. Battle 醫生 (1927-2020) 收藏
The Qianlong Emperor was a devout Buddhist and a keen follower of Tibetan Lamaist teachings. He had bronze figures of the Tibetan Buddhist Pantheon made in the imperial workshops to be enshrined in eight Buddhist halls. These halls were built in a style called liupinlou (six category halls), because the figures enshrined in them were divided into six categories. Four of these halls were built in the Forbidden City, for example, the Baoxianglou and the Fanhualou; three were in Chengde; and one, the Fanxianglou, was in the Summer Palace, then known as the Changchun Garden.
The style of figures enshrined in these halls were based on the style of the Ming dynasty favored by the Yongle Emperor and derived from Nepalese and Mongolian models, highlighted with cold-gilding. Patricia Ann Berger, Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China, Honolulu, 2003, p. 107, translates the six categories as the Prajnaparamita (Supreme wisdom) class, Supreme yoga class - father tantras (yang), Supreme yoga class - mother tantra (yin), yoga class, Caryayoga - action-ritual class, and Kriyayoga - devotion class. It is recorded that 787 images were enshrined in the Fanhualou and 732 images in the Baoxianglou. Today, only the Fanhualou retains its collection of images.
A similar representation of Manjushri was originally held in the Baoxianglou and is illustrated in Walter Eugene Clark (ed.), Two Lamaistic Pantheons, New York, reprinted 1965, pl. 53, no. 2A 25. Another similar figure placed in Fanhualou is published in Fanhualou cangbao - Foxiang / Statues in the Sanctuary of Buddhist Essence), vol. 1, Beijing, 2013, pl. 169. Related figures have sold at Christie's New York, 22nd March 2007, lot 215, and 15th September 2011, lot 1376; in our London rooms, 4th November 2009, lot 215; and in these rooms, 17th-18th March 2015, lot 376, and 16th March 2016, lot 371.
Baron Alexander von Staël-Holstein (1876-1937) was born in Estonia, and studied Sanskrit and Indian literature at the University of Tartu and then in Germany. He was employed by the diplomatic service between 1903–04, held professorial positions at the University of St. Petersburg and the National University of Beijing where he settled following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. During his time in Beijing, Staël-Holstein established and became director of the Institute for Research in Sino-Indian Relations in connection with Harvard University. He amassed a substantial collection of several hundred lamaistic statues and paintings.