A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY

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Lot 928
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA
TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY
US$ 800,000 - 1,200,000
£ 600,000 - 910,000

Lot Details
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF PANJARANATA MAHAKALA
TIBET, CIRCA 17TH CENTURY
Himalayan Art Resources item no.61915
10 3/4 in. (27.5 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 西藏 約十七世紀 銅鎏金寶帳大黑天像

    Finely cast and remaining in near-immaculate condition, this ferocious gilded sculpture of Panjaranata Mahakala aptly imparts this protector of Buddhist wisdom's power. Known as "Lord of the Pavilion", this two-armed form of Mahakala is the guardian of the Hevajra Tantra. The Hevajra Tantra is mainly practiced by the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism, and thus Panjaranata is considered the Sakya's principal protector deity as well. Although Panjaranata is a rare subject found in bronze sculptures, a few of examples from the Yongle (1402-24) and Xuande (1425-35) periods have survived. The present work, created in or around the 17th century, is an ambitious reinvigoration of the famed Yongle style.

    Immediate parallels in style and composition can be drawn between the current lot and Yongle-Xuande examples, such as a Yongle gilt bronze Panjaranata of similar size, preserved in the Potala Palace, published in von Schroeder, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, vol. II, Hong Kong, 2001, p.1260, nos.348A&B. Both sculptures depict the deity with his legs bent and turned outward standing on a stiff prostrate corpse while holding a chopper and skull cup in front of his chest. Both sculptures have bases consisting of a single row of long lotus petals with trifurcating tips neatly arranged between thickly beaded rims. Both sculptures have similar superbly gilded surfaces, and share some jewelry elements, such as the five-skull crown with chakra finials and the skull necklace with beaded loops.

    This 17th-homage, however, surpasses Yongle-Xuande prototypes in emphasizing the protector-deity's fierceness and immensity. Here, Panjaranata sticks out his tongue from a wide-open mouth, baring his fangs for all to see. The high cheekbones and wrinkled nose further accentuate his ferocity, tantamount to Panjaranata's role as an unrelenting guardian of Buddhism. By comparison, Yongle-Xuande bronzes present the deity more subdued; Panjaranata's mouth is slightly open and his facial muscles are not as tense. For example, see a smaller Yongle mark and period sculpture of Panjaranata Mahakala published in von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, no.145D. The present 17th-century revitalization also adds vigor to Panjanarta's hair. Rather than being pulled into a chignon and secured with a tiara, as with the Yongle-Xuande models, the deity's hair now stands on end, wavy as if bursting into flames. Finally, the prostrate corpse is now striped of any clothing or ornamentation, and rendered with decrepit muscles and emaciated ribs, creating a more forthright depiction of Panjaranata's power.

    Another clear and closely related example of this revival of the Yongle-Xuande style is a gilt bronze Panjaranata Mahakala in the collection of the Capital Museum, Beijing (Capital Museum, The Goddess of Mercy in Buddhism , Beijing, 2008, pp.266-7, no.40). Two further closely related gilt bronze examples include a Hevajra in the JPHY Collection and a dancing emanation of Padmasambhava (von Schroeder, op. cit., p.455, no.125D-E, and Neven, Art Lamaique, Brussels, 1975, no.30, respectively). All three figures share near-identical bases, and similar treatments of the prostrate figures, jewelry, and severed heads, as with the present enthralling sculpture.

    Provenance
    Sotheby's, New York, 17 June 1993, lot 24
Activities
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