A large copper alloy processional image of Buddha as Supreme Healer Myanmar, Arakan style, 15th-17th century
Lot 77W
A large copper alloy processional image of Buddha as Supreme Healer
Myanmar, Arakan style, 15th-17th century
Sold for US$ 112,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
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A large copper alloy processional image of Buddha as Supreme Healer Myanmar, Arakan style, 15th-17th century A large copper alloy processional image of Buddha as Supreme Healer Myanmar, Arakan style, 15th-17th century
A large copper alloy processional image of Buddha as Supreme Healer
Myanmar, Arakan style, 15th-17th century
Seated on a tiered throne, with a beautifully draped shawl over the shoulders and pendant necklaces covering his chest, his face with a serene, regal expression.
33 1/4 in. (87 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 緬甸 阿拉幹風格 十五至十七世紀 至高醫者形象之銅佛坐像

    While Buddha images of Myanmar frequently depict him in bhumisparsha mudra – downturned and calling the earth to witness his enlightenment – this is a rare exception. Instead, this majestic figure offers a seed of the myrobalan plum, with another resting at the top of the bowl secured within his lap by an upturned finger. The iconography is clearly that of The Medicine Buddha, Bhaishajyaguru. However, whereas Bhaishajyaguru is a Mahayana deity, Arakan culture is known for being Theravada, and thus the Medicine Buddha has no context for worship.

    Ethnically Tibeto-Burmese, Arakan culture occupies a unique position within Buddhist Asia, whereby Tibeto-Chinese Mahayana and Vajrayana imagery was borrowed to create Theravada images. This has caused some scholars to thus interpret Arakan images of this sort to depict the Historical Buddha as the Supreme Healer of all ailments – physical, mental, or spiritual (Green, Eclectic Collecting: Art from Burma in the Denison Museum, Singapore, 2008, pp. 206-7). For more information on Arakan's unique and fascinating culture see Gutman, Burma's Lost Kingdoms: Splendours of Arakan, Bangkok, 2001, pp. 149-150.

    The sculpture also incorporates the image of Crowned Buddha, which is inconsistent with the iconography of The Medicine Buddha. The tradition of depicting Buddha crowned stems from Indian Pala-period sculpture (8th-12th centuries), but gained new, local significance and unmatched popularity in Southeast Asia. In Myanmar, the image is known as Jambhupati Buddha, and became widespread during Arakan's Ava period (1364-1555). The image is associated with a legend wherein an arrogant ruler named Jambhupati is humbled and converted by the Buddha. Jambhuphati intimidated the monarchs of neighboring states and in order to quell his hubris, Shakyamuni transformed himself into a mighty king, with splendid crown, jewelry, and palace.

    Regal too, the present sculpture is an important Arakan image. Moreover, in addition to its large size, the two rings on either side of its base allow for hooks to carry it, indicating that this was a processional image created for public worship. Conforming stylistically to Tibetan sculpture of the 15th-17th centuries, the bronze was likely made and used within festivals of the Arakanese kingdom of Mrauk-U (1429-1785).

    Ranking among the best of its kind, and surviving with a rich glossy brown patina, the bronze compares favorably to Arakan bronzes sold at Christie's, New York, 5 December 1992, lot 138; Bonhams, New York, 16 March 2015, lot 64 , and held within the British Museum (acc. #1880.4070, Zwalf & Oddy, Aspects of Tibetan Metallurgy, London, 1981, no. 14).

    Referenced
    HAR - himalayanart.org/items/61432

    Provenance
    Private American Collection
    Acquired from Peter Hardt, Radevormwald, Germany in February 2003
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