A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY
Lot 3035
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI
DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY
Sold for US$ 487,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAVARAHI
DENSATIL, 14TH CENTURY
Himalayan Art Resources item no.2403
16 1/4 in. (41.3 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 丹薩替 十四世紀 銅鎏金金剛亥母像

    The goddess' grace and poise belie the density of this solidly cast masterpiece of Newari production in Tibet. She centers her weight effortlessly on flexed toes pressed into the chest of a prone human below. From its vajra pommel, her staff rises with dangling miniature drum, bell, and silk tassels flailing in the wind. Her diminutive sow's head, which identifies her as the consort of the great transformative deity Chakrasamvara, juts out from behind her tiara at an angle matching the raised ritual knife in her right hand. She is bedecked with bangles characteristic of the Densatil style, formed of stacked beaded chains clasped by a setting of semi-precious stones. Her silk mantle cascades at her sides with thin hems cast with consummate precision – a detail for which the present example excels compared to others sold in recent years. Below her, an ornate lotus rises from leafy stems that extend from an ungilded tang, which would have fixed her to one of Tibet's most glorious monuments.

    Few outsiders were able to glimpse Densatil Monastery in all its glory before it was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Thankfully, Giuseppe Tucci invited the photographer P.F. Mele on an expedition in 1948, during which he captured its splendor in black and white film. Tucci describes Densatil's famous eight tashi gomang stupas – a type created by the Kagyu order:

    "Those chortens [stupas]...were smothered with a wealth of carvings and reliefs that knew no limits. The whole Olympus of Mahayana seemed to have assembled on those monuments. As I cast the light of my torch on the chortens, the several figures sprang into life, glittering with gold, outlined and set off by darker hues and deep shadows...The hard, rugged images [of protector deities], like mail-clad warriors, sharply contrasted with the buoyancy of some female images gamboling festoon-like around the upper part of some of the oldest chortens."

    Densatil was built on the final resting place of the great master Phagmodrupa (1110-70). The sects that subsequently formed around him became among the most powerful in Central Tibet up until the 16th century, conferring their patronage on the monastery of their beloved guru. It was one of his foremost pupils, Jigten Gonpo Richen Pel (1143-1217), who conceived of the prototype for the Densatil stupas, inviting Newari artists to realize his vision of Chakrasamvara's heavenly realm populated by a retinue of 2,800 deities at his own Drigung Monastery.

    Mele's photographs show numerous examples of 'gamboling' Vajravarahis almost identical to the present lot (see Czaja & Poser, Golden Visions of Densatil, New York, 2014, pp.158-9 & 164-5, figs.34 & 35). As Chakrasamvara's consort, it is a fitting place for the goddess, worshiped in her own right as a protector of esoteric practices. Dispersed examples are held in museums and private collections, though few appear to match those photographed by Mele so closely. These include examples published in ibid., pp.166-71, nos.42-4, and sold at Christie's, New York, 17 September 2006, lot 1723; Sotheby's, New York, 16 September 1999, lot 46A; and 21 March 2002, lot 78. A further example is on display at the Capital Museum, Beijing.

    Provenance
    Private Asian Collection
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armour, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $250,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $250,001 to $4,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12.5% on the excess over $4,000,001 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Doris Jinhuang
    Specialist - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1620
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
  2. Edward Wilkinson
    Specialist - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 2918 4321
  3. Mark Rasmussen
    Specialist - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1688
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
Similar Items