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印度東北部 比哈爾邦 帕拉時期 九世紀 黑石大隨求佛母像
Identified by eight arms fanning out in an array of attributes, this impressive statue depicts Mahapratisara, the leader of five important protector goddesses in Tantric Buddhism (Pancharakshas). She displays in her principal pair of hands the sutra of perfected wisdom, or the prajnaparamita sutra on her left, while opening her right palm in the gesture of granting wishes (varada mudra). In her remaining hands, she wields an axe, a trident, a lasso, a sword, a discus, and a three-pronged vajra, evoking her role as one of the most ambidextrous and well-equipped of the Buddhist guardians.
In the first centuries of the Common Era, Mahayana Buddhism developed and enlarged its pantheon by deifying certain religious texts. Among these were five protective spells, offering protection from mortal concerns such as health, sustenance, safety, wealth, longevity, and childbirth. These spells are said to have emerged from the Buddha's magical protective formulas and are called the Pancharaksha ('Five Protections'). Mahapratisara's incantation, known as the Mahapratisara-Mahavidyarajni (lit. 'The Great Amulet, Great Queens of Spells'), is the most encompassing compared to the other spells, which are far more limited in scope. Furthermore, the reason why Mahapratisara became so widely popular throughout Asia is partly because any follower, be it a monk or a lay devotee, can invoke and call upon her protection. As such, she often appears in the form of an amulet or an amulet containing her written incantation, meaning that stone images of her deified persona are very rare.
From the curvaceous modelling of her limbs and upper torso, to the fullness of her lips, pointed nose, and calm yet piercing eyes, this representation of the eight-armed protector goddess bears the stylistic hallmarks of 9th/10th century sculpture from the earliest phases of the Pala period. Although seated upright as the ever-watchful protector, Mahapratisara allows herself a modicum of comfort by easing her right foot onto a small flower cushion, recalling a stone image of Vagishvari with a similar pose and deportment published in Huntington, The "Pala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture, 1984, no. 49. Also noteworthy is a stone image of Tara from Kurkihar, whose triangular tiara, lotus base with foliating scrolls, and pensive demeanor are nearly identical in rendering to that of the present lot (ibid, no. 113). Lastly, compare the figural proportions and the rounded shape of her stele to a Tara image formerly in the Nasli Heeramaneck and the Pan-Asian Collections, sold at Sotheby's, New York, 20 & 21 March 1990, lot 58.
Sundaram Gallery, South Extension, New Delhi, December 1968
Private Collection, Los Angeles