A ritual gilt bronze mounted nephrite axe  The axe: Neolithic; The mount: Tibet, circa 16th century
Lot 153
A ritual gilt bronze mounted nephrite axe The axe: Neolithic; The mount: Tibet, circa 16th century
Sold for US$ 43,750 inc. premium

Lot Details
A ritual gilt bronze mounted nephrite axe
A ritual gilt bronze mounted nephrite axe
The axe: Neolithic; The mount: Tibet, circa 16th century
The rectangular blade with a slightly angled sharp end set with a rounded lotus bulb above a circular double lotus base.
17 in. (44 cm) high

Footnotes

  • As suggested by Thurman and Weldon (Sacred Symbols, 2009, p. 52) the axe was recovered from an ancient cache and mounted as a "prized altar object...[and] considered as an auspicious symbol, perhaps the sword of Manjushri." They further suggest that the dating of the base can be determined on the treatment of the incised lotus petals, comparing with that found on a sculpture in the Aschmann Foundation (see Helmut Uhling, On the Path to Enlightenment, Zurich, 1995, no. 102, p. 157). Also compare with the treatment of the base of a 15th century gilt bronze stupa, formerly in the Anthony D'Offay Collection, sold at Christie's, September 19, 2002, lot 117.

    This sacred object seems to be an anomaly within the standard ritual items that typically populate a traditional altar and no evidence can be found of a like object recorded in thangka painting or wall murals. However, when considering the manner in which chakrvartin symbols, such as tusks and coral, are portrayed mounted, a reasonable assumption can be made that this rare and precious object could have been incorporated into an important shrine.

    Compare with a Neolithic period nephrite blade or chisel (2nd millennium BCE) of the same form in the Harvard Art Museums (1943.50.5), see Max Loehr and Louisa G. Fitzgerald Huber, Ancient Chinese Jades from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 1975, cat. no. 201, pp. 158-159.

    Published:
    Robert Thurman and David Weldon, Sacred Symbols: The Ritual Art of Tibet, Rossi and Rossi and Sotheby's, 1999, no. 21, p. 53.

    Provenance:
    Vincent Laloux, Paris
    Rossi and Rossi, 1999
    The Estate of Jack Bogart, San Francisco, 2008
    Thence by descent

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the mount is gilt repousse
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