A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF TARA TIBET, CIRCA 15TH CENTURY

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Lot 3030
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF TARA
TIBET, CIRCA 15TH CENTURY

Sold for US$ 487,500 inc. premium
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF TARA
TIBET, CIRCA 15TH CENTURY
Himalayan Art Resources item no.2126
8 in. (20.3 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 西藏 約十五世紀 銅鎏金度母像

    This is certainly one of the most attractive sculptures of the goddess Tara made in the Himalayas or China. The composition is perfectly integrated and balanced, as if nature were sentient, swaying in tandem with the goddess. The rich inset turquoise is exquisite too. Its placement is sparing and precise, subtly framing her golden body and face. With a quiet, yet enduring confidence, she looks beyond her right hand outstretched in the gesture of charity, gazing calmly towards the recipient.

    Few examples of the Pala style as it was reproduced in Tibet remain as faithful to the spirit of sensuality in Indian art as this. A particularly fine Pala original would have served as the model from which the present lot drew inspiration. One such of Green Tara, published by von Schroder, is safeguarded within the Potala Palace (Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, Vol. I, Hong Kong, 2003, pp.318-9, no.110C). The copious stylistic similarities are too numerous to list individually, but particularly telling is the arrangement of her hair into a bun behind large loop earrings and upturned side ribbons, as well as how the distinctive wide bangles around her wrists are executed with similar precision.

    She is different, however, with the inclusion of inset turquoise, a noted Tibetan proclivity. The treatment of her lower garment, and the lotus base also pertain more closely to Tibetan styles of the c.15th century. Instead of repeated pleats, the present lot shows a more uniform treatment of the skirt, with hems of lotus blossoms similar to the large floral designs of Yuan and early Ming dynasty textiles, cloisonné, and porcelain. The lotus base has broad leaves with upturned curlicue tips, which suggest the influence of the early Ming imperial style, and a wide foot rim to accommodate the inscription. These features, and the size and script of the dedicatory verse, are similar to those of an example of Shakyamuni in the Museum Rietberg attributed to Guge, but likely from Gyantse, where Sakya enclaves formed strong political ties with the Ming imperial court (cf. Uhlig, On the Path to Enlightenment, Zurich, 1995, pp.70-3, nos.71-2).

    In this White form, Tara (Sitatara) appears for the specific purpose of bestowing longevity. The dedicatory inscription indicates that it was composed by a devotee well-versed in White Tara meditation.

    "Om svasti,
    Striving in practice and an increase of knowledge in the Holy Doctrine,
    Constantly performing the sadhana to you and seeing your supreme face,
    Comprehending the meaning of emptiness and the precious Enlightenment Thought;
    May it increase and expand like the waxing moon. Mangalam"


    Published
    Heather Stoddard, Early Sino-Tibetan Art, 2nd edition, Bangkok, 2008, p.93, no.69 (misattributed as having a Xuande reign mark).

    Provenance
    Christie's, New York, 21 March 2001, lot 118
    Edwin C. Cohen Collection, New York
Contacts
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF TARA TIBET, CIRCA 15TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF TARA TIBET, CIRCA 15TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF TARA TIBET, CIRCA 15TH CENTURY
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