A polychrome wooden ritual altar table Tibet, 12th century and later
Lot 147
A polychrome wooden ritual altar table Tibet, 12th century or later
US$ 20,000 - 30,000
£12,000 - 19,000

Lot Details
A polychrome wooden ritual altar table
A polychrome wooden ritual altar table
Tibet, 12th century or later
The face panel with a mythological bird holding flowers in its beak and the tail feathers extending into scrolling wave forms. The top plain and later associated side panels.
10 1/2 x 23 1/4 x 9 3/4 in. (26.6 x 59 x 24.7 cm)

Footnotes

  • The representation of this mythical bird relating to the Hindu form of the hamsa (goose) is commonly found in the base pedestals of Indian sculpture in the Pala period (9th-11th century). For an example in bronze in the Patna Museum, see Huntington Archive (scan #2090). In the current presentation the ornate tail feathers now morph into scrolling water forms typically associated with the makara.

    It is likely that this table is one of the earliest surviving pieces of Tibetan furniture known. Together with another similar small table in the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University, that has been carbon dated (892-1161 CE), these tables are suggested to have been originally part of a frieze or throne base. For further discussion see John Listopad and Tony Anninos in Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life, Pasadena, 2004, pp. 107-110.

    Published:
    David Kamansky (ed.), Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life, Pasadena, 2004, no. 2, pp. 177 and 179.

    Exhibited:
    Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life, Pasadena, 2004

    Provenance:
    Private American Collection
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