A PAUBHA OF THE LAKSHACHAITYA WITH VAIROCANA BUDDHA NEPAL, DATED 1525 CE
Lot 3037
A PAUBHA OF THE LAKSHACHAITYA WITH VAIROCANA BUDDHA
NEPAL, DATED 1525 CE
US$ 200,000 - 300,000
HK$ 1,600,000 - 2,400,000

Lot Details
A PAUBHA OF THE LAKSHACHAITYA WITH VAIROCANA BUDDHA NEPAL, DATED 1525 CE A PAUBHA OF THE LAKSHACHAITYA WITH VAIROCANA BUDDHA NEPAL, DATED 1525 CE
A PAUBHA OF THE LAKSHACHAITYA WITH VAIROCANA BUDDHA
NEPAL, DATED 1525 CE
Dated by inscription to Samvat 645.
Himalayan Art Resources item no.30550
Image: 30 3/4 x 25 in. (78 x 63.5 cm)

Footnotes

  • 尼泊爾 1525年 毘盧遮那十萬佛塔博巴

    Important, colorful, and refined, this large composition depicts a popular subject in Nepalese painting – the lakshachaitya, or "hundred thousand stupas". Paintings of this subject are commissioned to commemorate the religious ritual of lakshachaitya, during which the donor symbolically dedicates a hundred thousand stupas in order to gain merit and longevity for himself and his family. The inscription on the bottom register describes the occasion for which it was created, identifying the priest and donor:

    "[Let it be] auspicious! In Nepal Era 645, in the month of Bhadra, in the fortnight of waxing moon, in the first lunar day [corresponding to 29 August 1525 CE], in the Purva Phalguni constellation, in the Siddhi Yoga, in Saturday when the sun was in zodiacal sign Leo, the moon in the zodiacal sign Taurus. [On this day], the monk Shri Bhimaji and the donor (vrati), completed the sacrifice (jajamana) for making a hundred thousand chaitya [out of clay] and consecrated the image (pratima) of Thrice Blessed Honorable goddess Chaitya [in the form of scroll painting] to achieve desired success, long life, health and prosperity in this world. May the entire family and others enjoy the perpetual growth of wealth and offspring. [Let it be] auspicious!"

    A Hindu revival during the late Malla period (1482-1769) saw Buddhist monasteries and temples in Nepal receiving comparatively less royal patronage. Consequently, this paubha is one of a very small group of important Buddhist paintings from the 16th century surviving in excellent condition.

    At the center of its sophisticated composition, Vairocana is enclosed within the womb of a magnificent white stupa. Characteristically Nepali, the stupa features the all-seeing eyes of the Adi-Buddha on the harmika – the square structure connecting the dome and the multi-storied tower on top. Adi-Buddha is a supreme being, highly regarded among Newari Buddhists as the primordial Buddha, whose emanations include all others. The bright white of the central stupa contrasts with the dark indigo background, filled with myriad miniature stupas, symbolizing the dedication of a hundred thousand chaityas by the donor.

    Within the uppermost register, six Buddhas each sit within a niche, with Vajradhara, Ratnasambhava, and Akshobhya on the left, and Vairocana, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi on the right. Immediately below in the dark blue vertical register are the seven historical Buddhas, including Vipashyin, Shikhin, Vishvabhu, Kakusandha, Kanakamuni, Kashyapa, and Shakyamuni.

    The remaining scenes within the vertical and inner horizontal registers likely depict episodes from the Shrngabheri Avadana, a Buddhist text on the relationship between spouses and the importance of stupa worship. A two-armed Mahakala stands at the center of the lower register with the donor figures to his immediate left, and a Vajracharya priest performing a fire ritual to his right.

    Despite following the basic conventions appropriate to the subject matter, creativity abounds throughout the painting. Several different compositional devices have been employed among surviving lakshachaitya paintings: some fill most of the background with rows of continuous miniature stupas running all the way to the edges, as seen in a slightly later painting in the National Museum of India, published in Kramrisch, The Art of Nepal, New York, 1964, p.111, no.93. Others integrate chaityas with compartments of subordinate deities, such as the 15th-century Ushnishavijaya painting in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see Pal, Nepal: Where the Gods are Young, New York, 1975, p.65, no.47). The present painting distinguishes itself by enclosing tightly arranged miniature stupas within registers of meticulously illustrated narrative panels, very likely the cleverest and most appealing structure of all.

    Published
    Museum Angewandte Kunst, Buddha: 108 Encounters, Frankfurt, 2015, pp.264-5, no.81.
    Meinrad Maria Grewenig & Eberhard Rist (eds), Buddha - 2000 Years of Buddhist Art. 232 Masterpieces, Völklingen, 2016, pp.340-1, no.143.

    Exhibited
    Buddha: 108 Encounters, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany, 26 February – 7 June 2015.
    Buddha - 2000 Years of Buddhist Art. 232 Masterpieces, Völklinger Hütte, Völklinger, Germany, 25 June 2016 - 5 March 2017.

    Provenance
    Private European Collection
    Rossi & Rossi Ltd, London
    David Teplitzky, Tel Aviv and London
    Mirabilia Mundi Ltd, Hong Kong, 2015
    Collection of a Private European Family
Activities
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