Tibet, circa 15th century Traces of pigment; emerging from a sea of scrolling roundels, the makara is rendered with a wide-open mouth baring sharp fangs and his trunk-like snout full extended with a slight curl at the end. He stands with his powerful front legs spread in a threaten stance. A diminutive lama figure dressed in heavy robes and his hands in the act of teaching (dharmachakra mudra) sits in high relief in the lower right corner. 24 x 26 in. (60.9 x 66 cm)
The Sanskrit term makara refers to a sea dragon or water monster that is a hybrid of the snout or trunk of an elephant, the tusks and ears of a wild boar, the darting eyes of a monkey, the scales and flexible body of a fish, and the swirling tail feathers of a peacock. There are a number of variations of the form and the makara is most often depicted in profile. The present lot is an unusual representation due to its almost frontal presentation and large scrolling tails.
Provenance: Sartin Collection Acquired from Sheila Presenser, London, 2006.
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Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan Art