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The Claude de Marteau Collection, Part II / STATUETTE DE BOUDDHA EN ALLIAGE DE CUIVRE DORÉ DYNASTIE YUAN, XIVE SIÈCLE

Lot 5
STATUETTE DE BOUDDHA EN ALLIAGE DE CUIVRE DORÉ
DYNASTIE YUAN, XIVE SIÈCLE
4 October 2022, 14:15 CEST
Paris

Sold for €35,655 inc. premium

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STATUETTE DE BOUDDHA EN ALLIAGE DE CUIVRE DORÉ

DYNASTIE YUAN, XIVE SIÈCLE
Himalayan Art Resources item no. 4626
17 cm (6 3/4 in.) high

Footnotes

A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF BUDDHA
YUAN DYNASTY, 14TH CENTURY

元 十四世紀 銅鎏金佛陀像

Provenance:
With Claude de Marteau, Brussels, by 1970s

Many images of the Buddha exist memorializing the moment of his enlightenment. Iconic in form, the portrait is at once recognizable in the gesture, contemplative gaze, and perfected meditative posture. Yet, every iteration carries unique features and motifs tracing both tradition and change, telling a story of both time and place. This bronze tells of the Yuan dynasty's eager patronage of Tibetan Buddhism and its summoning of master Newari artisans from Nepal to establish the dynasty's own practice of image making.

Yuan court annals and a reign-marked gilt copper alloy sculpture of Manjushri in the Palace Museum, Beijing, attest to this narrative (see Bigler, Before Yongle, 2013, p. 11, fig. 3). Like the present sculpture, the Manjushri, dated to the 9th year of the Dade reign (1305 CE), emphasizes its subject's sublime nature through a lightly clad idealized body characteristic of Newari aesthetics; less focus is placed conversely on heavily patterned garments and intricate jewelry. The sentiment is carried by the present bronze's restraint of ornamentation in the sheer monastic robe, which hugs a sensuous, monumental frame. Both figure's broad foreheads and square jaws share an affinity with buddha images from Nepal's Early Malla period (13th/14th century). So do the wide, beaded hemlines within their garments. However, the sculptures have almost identical beaded lotus pedestals completed in the round displaying tear-shaped inner petals with curled tips surrounded by a flatter second layer with ridged tips. Such bases and a particular technique of engraving, comprised of small punch marks yielding scrollwork, are idiomatic of bronzes produced for the Yuan dynasty. Additionally, the most prominent engraved detail embellishing the present Buddha is found over his left shoulder, showing a square panel with a visvavajra surmounted by a lotus flower. This motif and the other Yuan elements are all represented by a bronze buddha sold at Bonhams, Hong Kong, 2 December 2021, lot 1011 and two other published examples (ibid., pp. 92-5 & 112-3, nos. 21 & 26).

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