A TWENTY-FIVE DEITY MANDALA OF MARICI CENTRAL TIBET, CIRCA 1375-1400

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Lot 117
A TWENTY-FIVE DEITY MANDALA OF MARICI
CENTRAL TIBET, CIRCA 1375-1400

HK$ 16,000,000 - 24,000,000
US$ 2,000,000 - 3,100,000
Premium Lot - Online Bidding Will Not Be Available
A TWENTY-FIVE DEITY MANDALA OF MARICI
CENTRAL TIBET, CIRCA 1375-1400
Distemper on cloth.
Recto with Tibetan inscription in gold along bottom edge:
"dkyil 'khor bcu dgu pa 'od zer can nyer lnga'i dkyil 'khor la sgrol ma'i rigs kyi skor ba//";"The 19th mandala [in the series], depicting the twenty-five deity mandala of Marici, surrounded by the lineage of Tara."

Verso imbued with several Tibetan inscriptions in black ink including "om, ah, hum" invocations behind each figure, Marici's vivifying mantra and the Buddhist "Ye Dharma Hetu" creed forming a triangle at the center, and the second Buddhist "Patience" creed inscribed along the bottom.
Himalayan Art Resources item no. 2110
Image: 83.8 x 73 cm (33 x 28 3/4 in.)

Footnotes

  • Exhibited
    The Silk Route and the Diamond Path: Esoteric Buddhist Art on the Trans-Himalayan Trade Routes, (included as an Addenda, no. 125A).
    - Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, 7 November 1982 – 2 January, 1983;
    - Asia Society, New York, 6 February – 3 April 1983;
    - National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of Man, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 28 April – 30 June 1983.

    Provenance
    Robert Burawoy, Paris, 1978
    Jerry Solomon, Los Angeles, since 1980


    Essay by Jane Casey, July 2016

    Marici, Goddess of Light, resides at the center of a crystalline universe envisioned in this superbly rendered late 14th-century painting. The artist presents an aerial view of a square temple-palace (vimāna), its walls draped with jewels, accessed by four majestic gates. Marici sits on a chariot powered by seven sows and surrounded by twenty-four goddesses arranged at the cardinal and intermediary points of the compass.1 The temple rests on a lotus that rises above the dark blue waters of the cosmic ocean. The flower's multi-colored petals are enclosed by a circle of stylized flames, referring to the fiery, transformative boundary between the wisdom of the mandala and the profane world. Beyond the central circle reside other deities, also supported by lotuses, and connected by scrolling vines. The painting's upper register portrays historical figures associated with the transmission of Buddhist teachings connected with this mandala. The lower register includes protector deities and a Tibetan benefactor (sbyin bdag) seated before offerings (mchod pa rnam lnga) to the mandala.

    This Marici Mandala belongs to a group of paintings, of which at least sixteen others survive. All are of the same superb quality, and are now in major public and private collections in Europe, North America, and Asia.2 They are likely to have been painted by the same group of artists and would have been overseen by Buddhist hierarchs to ensure accuracy. In 1978, three were exhibited and published in Paris.3 This early publication attributed the paintings to the 16th century. However, subsequent scholarship has established that the set was most likely commissioned in the last quarter of the 14th century, to commemorate the teacher Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen (Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen Pel Sangpo, bla ma dam pa bsod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po, 1312-75), who appears at the center of the top register in this and all the other paintings in the set.4 Amy Heller has suggested that the set of paintings was created to commemorate the first anniversary of his death.5 Whether or not commissioned for this particular occasion, scholarly consensus is that this important set of paintings was produced for a Sakya-affiliated center around the last quarter of the 14th century.6

    Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen was the 14th abbot of Sakya monastery (r. 1344-75), and a student and benefactor to Buton Rimpoche (bu ston rin chen grub, 1290-1364), the celebrated Sakya-appointed abbot of Shalu monastery. Buton also appears repeatedly in this series of paintings, both as the last figure in the top lineage and elsewhere outside the central mandala.7 He and Lama Dampa were the two main teachers of the Tibetan political leader Changchub Gyaltsen (byang chub rgyal mtshan, 1302-1364), who seized power in 1349 and assumed leadership in Tibet as Yuan-Sakya rule waned. One of Lama Dampa's biographies states that he was named National Preceptor (guoshi) in 1344, making him the chief Tibetan religious figure at the Yuan Mongol court. However, he refused to present himself at the Yuan capital, claiming ill health. He did, however, serve as Buddhist teacher to Changchub Gyaltsen, who was the de facto ruler (Desi, sde srid, "regent") of Tibet from 1354 until his death in 1364. An astute politician, Changchub Gyaltsen accepted the title Tai Situ (ta'i si tu, Great Tutor) to the Mongol Khan in 1357, even as his own political and military power within Tibet supplanted that of the Sakya-Yuan nominal rulers.

    An inscription along the bottom edge indicates that the painting is the nineteenth in the set and confirms that it depicts the twenty-five-deity mandala of Marici. Another painting in the set specifies that the iconography of the mandala derives from the Vajravali (rdo rje phreng ba las).8 The Vajravali ("Diamond Garland") text was compiled by the Indian pandit Abhayakaragupta of Vikramashila monastery in Eastern India, a contemporary of King Ramapala (c. 1072-c. 1126). It, and its companion text, the Nispannayogavali (NSP), describe 42 mandalas to be visualized by Buddhist practitioners.9 The text includes iconographic details that would have aided the artists and patrons of this set of paintings. The Vajravali and NSP texts were introduced to Tibet in the 11th century and were well known to Buton Rimpoche, who taught mandalas from the Vajravali to Lama Dampa and his Sakya relatives shortly after 1355.10 It is interesting that Buton Rimpoche is shown at least once in this series in the company of his teacher Palden Senge, who introduced him to the Vajravali mandalas.11

    Thus, this painting and others in the set were created under the auspices of Tibet's leading late 14th-century political and religious hierarchy. While a Sakya context seems clear, it is less certain precisely which Sakya-affiliated center may have commissioned the set. It is also unclear precisely who its discerning patrons were. The benefactor in front of offerings to the mandala in the 17 surviving paintings represent three clearly distinguishable figures. When inscribed, they are identified by the general designation "benefactor" (sbying bdag). Only one mentions a more specific name, which has not yet been identified in the historical records.12 It is likely, as Heller has suggested, that, "several of the most important monk-officials of Sakya and Phagmodrupa lineages commissioned this series of the Vajravali mandalas to honour the memory of Lama Dampa."13

    The artists are likely to have been Newars from the Kathmandu Valley. David Jackson has established that a later set of paintings, also based on the Vajravali text, were created by Newar artists, commissioned c. 1429-56 by Ngor monastery in memory of a revered teacher.14 The style of this late 14th-century set of Vajravali paintings compares closely with that of the later Ngor mandalas. Both exhibit an extraordinarily fine line, a rich palette, and idiosyncratic features that all point to Newar artistic genius. One sees a masterful rendering of miniature details. One also sees well-observed glimpses of daily life: yogis perform austerities on animal skins in the shadow of the temple gates, birds perch atop tall pillars on the temple grounds. Colorful textile canopies hang from the temple gates, as well as garlands of flowers and strands of pearls. Deities are resplendent in silks and jewels and other accoutrements of sublime attainment. Symmetry prevails throughout the composition such that wherever one looks, one is always at the center of a complex but ordered universe—pristine, vibrant, colorful, and inhabited by sentient beings.


    1 Identification of each deity can be found in Vira & Chandra, Tibetan Mandalas (Vajravali and Tantra-samuccaya), New Delhi, 1995, pp.58-9.
    2 Published in Burawoy, Peintures du Monastere de Nor, Paris, 1978, (first four plates, un-paginated text); Pal, Tibetan Paintings: A Study of Tibetan Thankas, Eleventh to Nineteenth Centuries, London, 1984, pls.29-31; Gilles Beguin, Art esoterique de l'Himalaya Paris, 1990, pp.72-5; Pal, Tibet: Tradition and Change, Albuquerque, 1997, pp.146-7; Kossak & Casey Singer, Sacred Visions, New York, 1998, pp.163-4; Casey, Ahuja & Weldon, Divine Presence, Barcelona, 2002, pp.148-9; Huntington and Bangdell, Circle of Bliss, Chicago, 2003, pp.308-12 & 398-403; Heller, "The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya: The Legacy of Buton (1290-1364)", in Orientations , May, 2003, 69-73; Henss, The Cultural Monuments of Tibet , Munich, 2014, vol.1, p.166; The Cleveland Museum of Art, acc. #1993.4; Himalayan Art Resources set no.2083.
    3 Burawoy, Peintures du Monastere de Nor, (first four plates).
    4 Identified by inscription here as drung chos kyi rje po (His Holiness, Lord of the Dharma), an epithet that appears in other paintings in this set. At least two paintings however specify his name as chos rje bsod nams rgyal mtshan and as bsod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po.
    5 Heller, "The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya", 69-73, p. 73.
    6 Stoddard in Pal, Tibet: Tradition and Change, pp.146-7;
    Kossak citing David Jackson, Sacred Visions, pp.163-4; Casey, Ahuja & Weldon, Divine Presence, pp. 148-9; Henss, The Cultural Monuments of Tibet, vol.1, p.166; Jeff Watt, Himalayan Art Resources set no.2083.
    7 E.g., Heller, "The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya", fig.1a; Casey, Divine Presence, p.148.
    8 This inscription appears on an unpublished painting of a mandala of Manjuvajra.
    9 See Vira & Chandra, Tibetan Mandalas (Vajravali and Tantra-samuccaya), pp.11-2.
    10 Ruegg, The Life and Teachings of Bu Ston Rin po che. Rome, 1966, pp.150-1, as cited in Heller, "The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya", p. 70.
    11 Heller, "The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya", fig. 1a.
    12 sbyin bdag dzong ji chen po, "the benefactor Dzongji Chenpo". See Pal, Tibet: Tradition and Change, p. 147.
    13 Heller, "The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya", p. 73.
    14 Discussed in Kossak & Singer, Sacred Visions, pp.165-71, pls. 47a-c.


    二十五神摩利支天壇城
    西藏中部,約1375-1400年
    布本設色。
    正面畫芯下緣有金色藏文提記:
    "dkyil 'khor bcu dgu pa 'od zer can nyer lnga'i dkyil 'khor la sgrol ma'i rigs kyi skor ba//";"[成堂組畫中]第十九幅,描繪摩利支天之二十五神壇城,以度母傳承圍繞。"
    背面有多處墨色藏文題記,包括每人物背後"嗡,吽"符咒,摩利支天咒及緣起咒在中部呈三角狀,另有佛教第二"忍"信經題於下端。
    喜馬拉雅藝術資源網2110號
    畫芯:83.8 x 73 釐米 (33 x 28 3/4 英寸)

    16,000,000-24,000,000 港元

    展覽
    The Silk Route and the Diamond Path: Esoteric Buddhist Art on the Trans-Himalayan Trade Routes,(作為附加,125A號)。
    - Frederick S. Wight 畫廊,加利福尼亞大學,洛杉磯,1982年11月7日 - 1983年1月2日;
    - 亞洲協會,紐約,1983年2月6日- 4月3日;
    - 自然歷史國家博物館,人類國家博物館,史密森學會,華盛頓,1983年4月28日-6月30日。

    來源
    Robert Burawoy,巴黎,1978年
    Jerry Solomon,洛杉磯,1980年至今


    文:Jane Casey,2016年7月

    此幅作於十四世紀晚期的精品唐卡描繪具光佛母摩利支天居於水晶般宇宙正中。畫師以俯視的角度再現了一座四方形寺廟宮殿(vimāna),宮牆珠寶滿掛,宮門四座器宇軒昂。摩利支天坐於七雌豬所驅之戰車,周圍於基准方位與斜方位環繞佛母二十四尊。1 整座宮殿坐落於巨蓮之上,升自廣大無邊之深藍色海洋。五彩蓮瓣被火焰環抱,喻指壇城智慧與世俗世界間之界限熾烈多變。火焰圈外亦有諸位神明於蓮花寶座之上,以卷藤相連。畫芯上緣刻畫與此壇城教法傳承相關之歷史人物。畫芯下緣描繪眾護法神,另有供養人(sbyin bdag)坐於祭品(mchod pa rnam lnga)前方。

    此摩利支天壇城為成堂組畫之一,此組中另有不少於十六幅存世, 藝術水平之高超皆如此拍品一般,現藏於歐洲、北美及亞洲各大公共及私人收藏之中。2 整套唐卡或為同一組畫師所作,並由佛教高僧把控內容精准性。其中三幅於1978年在巴黎展出並見諸著錄。3 此早期著錄將唐卡斷代為十六世紀,而日後被學術界否定,認為此組應於十四世紀後期委托創作,為紀念喇嘛達巴索南嘉森(喇嘛達巴索南嘉森陪桑波,bla ma dam pa bsod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po,1312-75年)而畫,每幅唐卡上端正中皆繪有達巴索南嘉森坐像。4 Amy Heller更指出此唐卡組是為紀念其逝世一周年而作。5 無論該具體初衷是否屬實,就此些重要畫作是為薩迦派相關機構於十四世紀晚期委托創作這一觀點,學術界已達成共識。6

    喇嘛達巴索南嘉森是薩迦寺第十四任主持(1344-75年在位),師從並贊助由薩迦指認的夏魯寺主持布登仁波切(bu ston rin chen grub,1290-1364年)。布登之畫像亦在此組唐卡中反復出現,有時作為畫芯上端法系最後一位,有時出現在中環外其它位置。7 布登與達巴同為西藏政治領導人強曲堅贊(byang chub rgyal mtshan, 1302-1364年)之師。隨著元朝與薩迦控制權逐漸衰落,強曲堅贊於1349年掌控西藏大權。據達巴喇嘛的一部傳記記載,他於1344年被封為國師,成為蒙元政權中地位最高的西藏宗教領導人。他雖以病故為由拒絕前往元都,卻收強曲堅贊為徒授其以佛法。強曲堅贊於1354年成為西藏的實際統治者(sde srid,攝政王),直到1364年逝世。他政治頭腦敏銳,雖然其在西藏的政治軍事力量早已超越元薩迦的名義統治者,卻仍於1357年接受冊封成為蒙古可汗的大司徒。

    畫芯下緣題記指出此作品為該組中第十九幅,以摩利支天的二十五神壇城為題。根據此組中的另一幅唐卡,該壇城的圖像表現衍生自《金剛鬘》(rdo rje phreng ba las)。8 《金剛鬘》由印度超戒寺大師無畏生護(Abhayakaragupta)集結而成,其與羅摩波羅王(約1072-1126年)處同一時代。此著作與另一部《究竟瑜伽鬘》共同記述了佛教修行使用的四十二壇城。9 此組唐卡的畫師及供養人應曾受助於該著作中的相關圖像學細節。《金剛鬘》與《究竟瑜伽鬘》於十一世紀引入西藏。布登仁波切對這兩部著作熟知,並曾在1355年後不久向喇嘛達巴及其薩迦同仁講授《金剛鬘》中之壇城。10 頗有趣味的是,此組唐卡多次將布登仁波切與其師巴登桑傑一同描繪,而布登仁波切正是在巴登桑傑的引授下才對《金剛鬘》有所得知。11

    在十四世紀晚期西藏的政治宗教統治階級支持下,此幅唐卡與其它同組作品應運而生。雖已知其與薩迦傳承聯系緊密,但究竟由何處薩迦寺院委托創作,或其供養人具體身份,則不得而知。在存世的十七幅唐卡中,畫芯下方祭壇旁所繪的供養人外貌特征有別,應為三位不同歷史人物。畫上提款大都泛指"供養人"(sbying bdag),僅有一幅題有具體姓名,但尚且未能從歷史記錄中確認其身份。12 也許正如Heller女士所主張,"此組《金剛鬘》壇城唐卡是為紀念喇嘛達巴,由數位薩迦與帕竹高僧委托創作 。"13

    唐卡之畫師或為尼瓦爾人,來自加德滿都河谷。根據David Jackson的研究,另一組基於《金剛鬘》創作的壇城唐卡亦為尼瓦爾畫師所作,該組由鄂爾寺為紀念某位德高望重的上師於1429到1456年間委托創作。14 此拍品所屬之唐卡組與其後的鄂爾寺唐卡組風格十分相似,兩組皆線條細膩流暢,色彩豐富鮮明, 尼瓦爾風格濃郁。細節之詮釋儼然出自大師之筆,對日常生活之關注也極其入微:瑜伽士苦行於獸皮之上,蔽日於城門陰涼之中,飛鳥棲息於寺廟梁柱之端。五彩織錦華蓋於宮門懸掛,更以花環珠簾相伴。各路神祗皆著華服飾纓絡,華麗而不失莊嚴。整幅構圖采用對稱布局,無論著眼何處皆為中心,勾勒出一個結構復雜但井然有序的宇宙——純樸無瑕、生機盎然、絢麗多彩、包容眾生。


    1 每位本尊的身份可參閱 Vira 與 Chandra,Tibetan Mandalas (Vajravali and Tantra-samuccaya),新德裡,1995年,頁58-9。
    2 出版於 Burawoy,Peintures du Monastere de Nor,巴黎,1978年,(前四版彩圖,無頁碼);Pal,Tibetan Paintings: A Study of Tibetan Thankas, Eleventh to Nineteenth Centuries,倫敦,1984年,版圖29-31;Gilles Beguin,Art esoterique de l'Himalaya,巴黎,1990年,頁72-5;Pal,Tibet: Tradition and Change,阿爾伯克基,1997年,頁146-7;Kossak與Casey Singer,Sacred Visions,紐約,1998年,頁163-4;Casey,Ahuja與Weldon,Divine Presence,巴塞羅那,2002年,頁148-9;Huntington與Bangdell,Circle of Bliss,芝加哥,2003年,頁308-12及398-403;Heller,"The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya: The Legacy of Buton (1290-1364)",刊載於Orientations ,2003年5月,頁69-73;Henss,The Cultural Monuments of Tibet ,慕尼黑,2014年,卷一,頁166;克利夫蘭藝術博物館,館藏號1993.4;喜馬拉雅藝術資源網2083號。
    3 Burawoy,Peintures du Monastere de Nor,(前四版彩圖)。
    4 由題記drung chos kyi rje po(法王)確認身份,該稱謂亦出現在此組中其它唐卡之上。另有不少於兩幅唐卡題寫其名chos rje bsod nams rgyal mtshanbsod nams rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po
    5 Heller,"The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya",69-73,頁73。
    6 Stoddard刊載於Pal,Tibet: Tradition and Change頁146-7;Kossak引用David Jackson,Sacred Visions,頁163-4;Casey,Ahuja與Weldon,Divine Presence,頁148-9;Henss,The Cultural Monuments of Tibet,卷一,頁166;Jeff Watt,喜馬拉雅藝術資源網2083號。
    7 例如Heller,"The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya",圖1a;Casey,Divine Presence,頁148。
    8在一幅未經出版的文殊金剛壇城唐卡上有此題記。
    9 參見Vira與Chandra,Tibetan Mandalas (Vajravali and Tantra-samuccaya),新德裡,1995年,頁11-2。
    10 Ruegg,The Life and Teachings of Bu Ston Rin po che,羅馬,1966年,頁150-1,引用於Heller,"The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya",頁70。
    11 Heller,"The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya",圖1a。
    12 sbyin bdag dzong ji chen po,"供養人宗吉欽波"。參見Pal,Tibet: Tradition and Change,頁147。
    13 Heller,"The Vajravali Mandala of Shalu and Sakya",頁73。
    14 討論於Kossak與Singer,Sacred Visions,頁165-71,版圖47a-c。
Contacts
A TWENTY-FIVE DEITY MANDALA OF MARICI CENTRAL TIBET, CIRCA 1375-1400
A TWENTY-FIVE DEITY MANDALA OF MARICI CENTRAL TIBET, CIRCA 1375-1400
A TWENTY-FIVE DEITY MANDALA OF MARICI CENTRAL TIBET, CIRCA 1375-1400
A TWENTY-FIVE DEITY MANDALA OF MARICI CENTRAL TIBET, CIRCA 1375-1400
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