A large and important gilt bronze Sino-Tibetan figure of an attendant to Vajrabhairava, Naga Yongle/Xuande
Lot 243*
A large and important gilt-bronze Sino-Tibetan figure of an attendant to Vajrabhairava, Naga Yongle/Xuande
Sold for £356,000 (US$ 578,189) inc. premium

Lot Details
A large and important gilt bronze Sino-Tibetan figure of an attendant to Vajrabhairava, Naga Yongle/Xuande
A large and important gilt-bronze Sino-Tibetan figure of an attendant to Vajrabhairava, Naga
Yongle/Xuande
The reclining figure finely cast with four arms and six heads, leaning to the left and resting his weight on one of his left hands, with one leg tucked under and the other extended out to the right with the toes curled under supported on the flat ground, holding a ruyi sceptre in his right hand, the figure richly adorned with multiple necklaces and other beaded jewellery, the numerous heads surmounted by a high foliate tiara, wood stand.
35.2cm (13¾in) wide (2).

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Thornett Collection
    Purchased at Lawsons, Sydney, 17 March 1966, lot 807

    This exceptional early 15th century depiction of an attendant belongs to a very small published group of related figures, which are believed to have been produced in groups to grace the thrones of highly important, and most likely Imperially-commissioned, monumental bronze figures. It is likely that such large early Ming bronze figures would have been produced for Tibetan Buddhist temples in Beijing or Chengde. A figure of Vajrabhairava, incised with a Yongle six-character Yongle mark and of the period, illustrated by U.von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p.518, fig.145C, is flanked by two smaller related figures. The proportions of the present attendant suggest that the original sculpture would have been over five feet in height, arguably making it one of the most important early Buddhist images recorded.

    Another comparable figure formerly in the Philip Goldman collection in London is illustrated in ibid, p.520, fig.146A and was subsequently sold at Sotheby's New York, March 21 2002, lot 152. More remarkable, however, is the fact that two further attendants can be found in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia (fig 1). According to the museum acquisition notes, the pair was acquired in 1927 and given the stylistic similarities with the present example, it may be suggested that all three originally formed part of the same group.
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