A COPPER ALLOY REPOUSSÉ FIGURE OF SHADBHUJA MAHAKALA DOLONNOR, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY

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Lot 3215
A COPPER ALLOY REPOUSSÉ FIGURE OF SHADBHUJA MAHAKALA
DOLONNOR, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY

Sold for US$ 125,000 inc. premium
A COPPER ALLOY REPOUSSÉ FIGURE OF SHADBHUJA MAHAKALA
DOLONNOR, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Himalayan Art Resources item no.12105
20 1/4 in. (52 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 多倫諾爾 清朝 十八世紀 六臂大黑天銅像

    Few sculptures evoke the exotic draw of Tibetan Buddhist sculpture so effortlessly as this impressively balanced example of the Great Black One. No doubt this is why it was chosen for the 1971 exhibition, Tantra, the first major show on the subject in Britain.

    After an apprenticeship in India and Nepal, Khyungpo Naljor, the founder of the Shangpa Kagyu School, brought Shadbhuja Mahakala to Tibet. Mahakala is a general class of protector deity, but whereas others stem from Vajradhara, Shadbhuja is the only form to emanate from Avalokiteshvara. The practice became popular in the Sakya, Kagyu, and Jonang traditions and was later adopted into the Gelugpa School, becoming one of the order's three principal protectors.

    Following the Gelugpa preference for a more animated posture with the legs apart, Mahakala is modeled with a snake piercing his upswept flaming hair. His wrathful nature is amplified with bulging eyes, broad beak-like nose, terrific mouth of bared fangs, and protruding tongue. The snakes framing the jeweled armbands and bracelets, the large suspended chakra, and abstract tiger-skin garment complete the composition.

    The arrangement of jewelry over enhanced pectorals and swollen belly is consistent with the workshops of Dolonnor. A Vajrapani in Shilun College at Labrang monastery, Gansu province, founded in 1763, important for its dating, is crafted in a very similar manner in volume and finer detail (Rhie & Thurman, A Shrine for Tibet, New York, 2009, pp.32-3, fig.24). In Rhie's discussion, the comparison is even clearer: "It has raw ferocity produced by the confluence of exaggerated proportions and a springboard energy in the body."

    Compare a six-armed Hayagriva in the Jacques Marchais Museum published in Lipton & Ragnubs, Treasure of Tibetan Art, New York, 1996, p.111, no.47. Also compare with a repoussé Nilamahakala of the same size in the Robert Burawoy Collection published in von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p.545, no.154F; and a Vajrapani attributed to Chahar, Inner Mongolia, in Rhie & Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion, New York, 1996, p.69, no.1. Also see a closely related large figure of Hayagriva sold at Sotheby's, London, 10 July 1973, lot 150.

    Published
    Philip Rawson, Tantra, London, 1971, p.60, no.229.
    Marcel Nies Oriental Art, Om Mani Padme Hum, Antwerp, 2011, pp.62-3.

    Exhibited
    Tantra, Haywood Gallery, Arts Council of Great Britain, London, September 30 - November 14 1971.

    Provenance
    Collection of Philip Goldman, London, 1960s
    Sotheby's, New York, 21 March, 2002, lot 188
    Marcel Nies Oriental Art, Antwerp
    Acquired from the above at TEFAF Maastricht, 21 June 2013
Contacts
A COPPER ALLOY REPOUSSÉ FIGURE OF SHADBHUJA MAHAKALA DOLONNOR, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
A COPPER ALLOY REPOUSSÉ FIGURE OF SHADBHUJA MAHAKALA DOLONNOR, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
A COPPER ALLOY REPOUSSÉ FIGURE OF SHADBHUJA MAHAKALA DOLONNOR, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
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