A Parcel silver gilt repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century
Lot 1032
A parcel-gilt silver repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century
Sold for US$ 50,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
A Parcel silver gilt repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century A Parcel silver gilt repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century A Parcel silver gilt repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century A Parcel silver gilt repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century A Parcel silver gilt repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century A Parcel silver gilt repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam) Tibet, circa 18th century
Lot Details
A parcel-gilt silver repoussé and gilt copper alloy miniature shrine cabinet (torgam)
Tibet, circa 18th century
Framed by rows of silver skulls the front panels are dominated by flaming skull cups; the right filled with the five sense offerings, the left filled with nectar. The surrounding composition is ornamented with birds of prey, and mythical beasts and 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 lower frieze drawer is decorated with scenes of the cremation or charnel grounds with four dancing skeletons (chitipati), all holding a skull-tipped scepter and a skull bowl, spaced by various ritual implements. The side panels are incised with dancing yogin and a dancing skeleton, with back incised with the ten syllables of the Kalachakra mantra. The top panel is incised with a Tibetan with a Tibetan mantra '(om padmo ushnisha vimale hum phat) The whole is raised on four gilt skulls.
12 x 17 x 6 in. (30.5 x 43.2 x 15.2 cm.)

Footnotes

  • Compare with a very closely related ritual box in the Ford Collection at Walter Museum of Art, Baltimore , (see Pratapaditya Pal, Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal and Tibet from the John and Berte Ford Collection, London, 2001, no. 192, p. 320.) Here Pal suggests "The complexity of the decoration is indicative of a date in the 18th century, making this a relatively late example of the Tibetan tantric tradition."

    Also compare with the quality of the details in the ritual cakra in Rehol, Chenge (see Chen Qingying, Buddhist Art from Rehol, 1999, no. 63, p. 150)

    This cabinet, together with lot 1027 and the Ford ritual box constitute a remarkable group of Tibetan silver gilt works of art. The precise function and use of these pieces is unclear within the traditional sense but as Pal notes "We can admire it (ritual box) as a tour de force of remarkable technical virtuosity and vibrant imagination"


    Provenance:
    Christie's, New York, March 25, 2004, lot 101
    Private European Collection

    Published:
    Ramon Prats, et. al., Monasterios y lamas del Tibet, Madrid, Fundación "La Caixa", 2000, p. 121, cat. no. 66.
    David Kamansky, editor, Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life, Chicago, 2004, no. 131, p. 313.

    Exhibited:
    Monasterios y lamas del Tibet, Fundación "La Caixa", Madrid, November 2000-January 2001.
    Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA, Nov. 13, 2004 – February 13, 2005.
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