Cast seated in dhyanasana on a double lotus base, the right hand lowered in varadamudra, the left hand raised to his chest, wearing an elaborate beaded necklace, the face with downcast eyes and meditative expression framed by a five-pointed crown securing the hair swept in a top knot, with his bare torso adorned with inlaid beaded jewelry. Avalokiteshvara has long been regarded as the patron deity of Tibet, and has been revered in China from the late Ming dynasty through the Qing. Qing court patronage of Buddhism commenced under the Kangxi Emperor and reached epic proportions under his grandson, the Qianlong Emperor. The Buddhist centers of Beijing, Rehol, and Dolonnor produced a vast number of images to keep up with the demand of temples both inside and outside of the capital. The present work exhibits many characteristics common to the Buddhist workshops of the Qianlong period, such as the languid and slightly effeminate treatment of the face and body, and the tightly waisted double-lotus base with broad petals. This sculpture has a pacifying beauty and presence, a very fine example amongst the great number of similar Buddhist bronzes proliferated during the Qianlong period. This gilt bronze excels in its elegant modeling with finely cast hands and fingers.
Je Tsongkhapa Mongolia c. 18th century Gilt bronze
Tsongkhapa, also known as Je Rinpoche, was born in the Amdo region of Tibet in 1357. He was a highly respected Buddhist scholar and is credited as being the founder of the Gelug Buddhist sect, known as the “Yellow Hat” sect, one of the most powerful and widespread in the Buddhist religion. Revered as an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjushri, he was reported to have seen and conversed with the deity from a young age. The current bronze example can be seen holding the stems of lotus flowers supporting a sword and book, which are the prime attributes of Bodhisattva Manjushri. Compare this powerful piece with a related gilt-bronze figure of Tsongkhapa, 18th century, illustrated in B.Lipton and N.D.Ragnubs,Treasures of Tibetan Art: Collections of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, p.70, no.22.
Guanyin China Qing Dynasty Gilt bronze with precious stones
Guanyin China, Qing Dynasty Gilt bronze with precious stones 14 1/2 in. (37 cm.)
Provenance: From a private Scandinavian collection Acquired at Auktion Dresden, Saxonia, von Tannersche China- Slg., March 1890, lot no. 667 and since then in the collection.
With a brown patinated bronze, partly gilt and with turquoise inlays, this tall figure of the Bodhisattva Guanyin is shown seated majestically on a lotus throne. The long coat flowing around the body in elegant drapes. The right hand raised to a peaceful gesture, the left hand resting on the lap. Serene facial expression with down-cast eyes. At the front of the base an inscription translates to ‘The honourable bodhisattva Guanyin,’ while the bottom has a small opening.
Avalokiteshvara Chittavishramana Lokeshvara 17th century Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Style Gilt bronze with inlay
This extremely rare sculpture shows Avalokiteshvara, “The lord who looks down”, in his emanation of Chittavishramana (Semnyi Ngalso),gazing upon all beings with great compassion. Executed by a master hand, this exquisite sculpture encapsulates the distinctive imperial style created during Kangxi period.
Chittavishramana, is the state in which the Bodhisattva has purified all obstacles through the practice of great compassion and wisdom, and is resting in the nature of mind. Seated in this Rajalalisana– esque posture, he is depicted with his right hand extending gracefully over a half raised leg, while his left hand is pressing on the seat behind his left thigh, to effortlessly offer support whilst holding the stem of a lotus. Surmounting the elegantly modeled figure a chignon with Amitabha in the center, and an antelope skin tied around his left shoulder.
Examples of Chittavishramana Lokeshvara are distinctly adorned with heavenly garments and jewelery. The present work is no exception; lavishly detailed from head to toe with distinctive settings in floral motif, while the graceful and sublime presence is further enhanced by the brilliant green glass inlay work. His dhoti folds gently and naturally on the seat, with the hem engraved precisely.
The stylistic treatment of this figure’s posture and jewelry can be traced as far back as the early Ming period, as published in Von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981 p. 143, no. 143D and p. 151 no. 151C-151G.
The softly-modeled face and exquisite craftsmanship draw close comparison to two well-known Kangxi bronzes of Amitayus held in The Palace Museum, Beijing and published in, Gu gong bo wu yuan cang wen wu zhen pin quan ji; 60: Zang chuan fo jiao zao xiang, Hong Kong, 2008, pp. 238-9, nos. 227-8. Also compare this figure with a Kangxi period Amitayus sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 3, 2018 lot 3626. The same texture and naturalism is evident in the expressions of both faces, cast in similar renderings of serenity and ease, with the same treatment of their smoothly rounded chins, well-defined noses, as well as precise proportions. Both works have a robust chest and supple waist. Like the current figure, the Amitayus has tresses of hair falling on each shoulder elegantly, and the distinctive hair ornaments share identical treatment.
The double lotus base has beads encircling the whist, a rare but typical form of Kangxi style base that is seen in the famous gilt-bronze figure of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Shadakshari commissioned by the Kangxi Emperor in 1686 on the occasion of his grandmother’s birthday, from the Qing court collection, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Buddhist Statues of Tibet: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2003, p. 237, cat. no. 226.
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Asia Week NY 2019
Arcane Masters: A Curated Exhibition of Indian and Himalayan Art
Open House Weekend: March 16–17 Saturday and Sunday, 11am–5pm
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