A very large parcel-gilt copper-alloy stupa Qianlong
Lot 295*
A very large parcel-gilt copper-alloy stupa
Qianlong
Sold for £50,000 (US$ 83,186) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A very large parcel-gilt copper-alloy stupa
Qianlong
Heavily modelled with a domed body encircled with horned masks suspending beaded garlands and set on one side with a framed niche, surmounting a stepped square plinth decorated in various relief with a pair of confronting lions flanking flaming pearls on the waist of each side between elaborate floral scrolls applied to the rims, and supporting a conical spire of thirteen layers under an embellished canopy and a jewelled sun and moon finial.
49cm (19 1/3in) high

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 銅局部鎏金大佛塔

    A stupa, also known as Chorten, is a religious monument symbolising in particular the Buddha's enlightened mind, which was the first Buddhist art form, symbolic of the Buddha rather than representative of him in human form. Stupas are popular serving as reliquaries for remains of saints and other revered leaders, as well as holding offerings and precious relics. The Tibetans built both large and small stupas, and believe that visiting and circumambulating a stupa will bring the practitioner merit.

    Stupas in India were at first made from earth, brick, or stone, and later made from precious metals. A typical stupa consists of a square platform as a base which is symbolic of the earth element; a dome where the relics are kept, symbolising the water element; ten or thirteen steps of enlightenment which indicates the fire element; a protective parasol, symbolic of the air element; the sun and the moon, referring to the space element; and the top flame or smoky wisp, symbolising the void. The present lot exemplifies this general form of a stupa. It is also interesting to compare a few cloisonné enamel Tibetan stupas made during the mid-Qing dynasty in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels 4, Beijing, 2011, pls.54 and 57.

    There are eight known types of stupas, which were built to commemorate eight great episodes in the life of Buddha Shakyamuni. The present lot is referred as the second type, called the Enlightenment stupa, which represents Buddha's enlightenment under the bodhi tree on the fifteenth day of the fourth month.

    The confident and solid casting quality of the present lot is amongst the finest during the 18th century, a time when the Qianlong Emperor was most enthusiastic in his patronage of Tibetan-style Buddhism in China, Mongolia and Tibet. It compares closely with an Enlightenment stupa of similarly large size illustrated by B.Lipton and N.Ragnubs in Treasures of Tibetan Art: Collections of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, New York, 1996, Catalogue, no.6.

    此塔的結構底部為方形束腰臺座,束腰處飾對稱雙獅紋,座沿飾花紋。方座承托覆缽,雕飾獅首銜瓔珞,正中開眼光門。上托十三層塔剎,下豐上斂,兩側垂卷草紋塔耳,上有鏤空華蓋。最上層為日盤和月盤。整體沉厚穩重,做工卓越,體現了十八世紀時期的精湛工藝,為乾隆鼎盛時期的代表作之一。

    佛塔譯作「Chorten」,意思是供養的根基,象徵着佛陀證悟的心,用來供奉經書、佛像和重要上師們的舍利子。在西藏,佛塔十分普及,隨處可見大小不等的佛塔。藏人供奉和繞行佛塔以祈求平安。

    在印度,佛塔最初以土、磚、或石頭製成,後來以較為珍貴的材料如鎏金、銀、銅等製成。佛塔主要由五大部份組成,其五部份亦象徵着五大元素:日月代表空,華蓋代表風,相輪(十三天)代表火,覆缽代表水,臺座代表地,意味着一切事物因緣而生。其他材料製成的佛塔可參考故宮博物院藏有清中期的掐絲琺瑯藏式佛塔,見2011年北京和合肥出版故宮博物院編《故宮博物院藏品大系:琺瑯器編4》,圖版54和57。

    佛塔造型較多,主要有八種形式,代表着釋迦牟尼佛一生不同階段的重要事蹟。此拍品為八大主要佛塔裏的第二種,即菩提塔,以紀念佛陀在菩提樹下得道成佛而建。類似的大佛塔可參考1996年紐約和牛津出版B.Lipton和N.Ragnubs著《Treasures of Tibetan Art: Collections of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art》,圖版6。
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