A ritual offering vase with Smashana Adipati Tibeto-Chinese, circa 18th century
Lot 1027
A ritual offering vase with Smashana Adipati Tibeto-Chinese, circa 18th century
US$ 50,000 - 80,000
£30,000 - 47,000
Auction Details
A ritual offering vase with Smashana Adipati Tibeto-Chinese, circa 18th century A ritual offering vase with Smashana Adipati Tibeto-Chinese, circa 18th century
Lot Details
A ritual offering vase with Smashana Adipati
Tibeto-Chinese, circa 18th century
Raised on a tapered lotus foot, the body of the vase is decorated with scenes of the cremation or charnel grounds between a sea of flames and beaded garlands. Ornamented with various ritual implements including; a flaming sword, ritual axe, and conch as well as birds of prey, and mythical beasts. Scattered in the composition are a variant of the seven gems of the chakravartin including; a coral branch, a pair of elephant tusks, a three-eyed jewel, a unicorn horn, the three gems, crossed pair of measuring rulers, a pair of king's earrings and a pair of queen's earrings. The primary elements of the dancing skeletons (chitipat), showing the male holding a skull-tipped scepter and a skull bowl, while the female holds a stalk of grain and a vase. These figures are divided by flaming skull cups, one filled with the five sense offerings, the other filled with nectar and a dragon head at the rim. The projecting ruffled rim and row of skulls support four nagas with raised heads that encircle two bands of water and mountain motifs below a band of kirttimukha, and another with an ocean containing makaras, a man rowing a boat filled with jewels and Chinese style pavilion. The flared rim is supported by a waisted lotus and cloud forms around the broad mouth.
14 in. (35.7 cm.)

Footnotes

  • In discussion of Smashana Adipati, lords of the charnel grounds by Linrothe and Watt, Demonic and Devine: Himalayan Art and Beyond, New York, 2004, p. 128 "Smashana Adipati is one of the Sanskrit names for a dancing-skeleton couple who inhabit and preside over the (thus adipati, "lords") cremations grounds (smashana), where Indian Tantric yogins were encouraged to practice."

    The actual function of this decorated vase is unclear beyond an offering, however the idea of the imagery being associated with their benevolent aspect of protecting wealth is also suggested. Furthermore in their discussion of the connection of Chitipati to the Sakya lineage (ibid, p. 126)"..both figures (Chitipati) consistently hold identical objects in their left and right hands: a skull-or skeleton-tipped scepter and a skull bowl containing swirling blood, respectively. By contrast, the Gelugpa images....usually give the female a stalk of grain and a vase signifying the bestowal of wealth."

    The quality of the detailed decoration and powerful imagery place this vase at the peak of metalwork production in Tibet during the 18th century. However, the Qing Emperors were known to be strict followers of the Gelugpa order of Tibetan Buddhism and they constructed many temples in Chende, the summer retreat for the Qing court, and commissioned many sculptures and ritual items for ceremonies. The embossed silver inset panels on a ritual conch in Rehol, Chenge (see Chen Qingying, Buddhist Art from Rehol, 1999, no. 65, p. 153) are very closely related in the treatment of the animal figures and auspicious symbols. Also compare with a silver and gilt copper mandala of Vasudhara in the Art Institute of Chicago, (see Pal, Tibet: Tradition and Change, Albuquerque, 1997, pl. 77, p. 154). Furthermore, the presence of a Chinese style pagoda in a prominent position on the upper band of the neck, and the treatment of the animal forms are closely aligned with Chinese norms. These stylistic element together with the Gelupa style of imagery, make it possible that this vase was commissioned by a patron connected to imperial workshops.

    Provenance:
    Spink & Son, Ltd., London, 1998
    Private European Collection
    Christie's, New York, March 25, 2004, lot 82

    Exhibited:
    London, Spink & Son, Ltd., Body, Speech, and Mind, cat. no. 40, December 1998.
    Madrid, Fundación "La Caixa", Monasterios y lamas del Tibet, cat. no. 34, November 2000-January 2001.

    Published:
    Exhibition catalogue, Body, Speech and Mind, London, Spink & Son, Ltd., 1998, p. 76 cat. no. 40.
    Ramon Prats, et. al., Monasterios y lamas del Tibet, Madrid, Fundación "La Caixa", 2000, p. 109, cat. no. 34.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Angela Lee
    Auction Administration - Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
    Work +1 415 503 3358
    FaxFax: +1 415 503 3300
  2. Dessa Goddard
    Specialist - Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
    Work +1 415 503 3333
    FaxFax: +1 415 503 3300
  3. Edward Wilkinson
    Specialist - Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5430
    FaxFax: + 323 850 5843