A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAHUMKARA  NEPAL, 9TH/10TH CENTURY

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Lot 804
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAHUMKARA
NEPAL, 9TH/10TH CENTURY

HK$ 8,000,000 - 12,000,000
US$ 1,000,000 - 1,500,000
Premium Lot - Online Bidding Will Not Be Available
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAHUMKARA
NEPAL, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
With a Tibetan inscription on the tang below the proper left foot, "'ba tsi ra hung ka ra", representing a transliteration of the Sanskrit Vajrahumkara.
Himalayan Art Resources item no.68445
31 cm (12 1/4 in.) high

Footnotes

  • Publised
    David Weldon and Jane Casey Singer, The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet: Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection, London, 1999, pp.86-7, pl.10.
    Pratapaditya Pal, Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure, Chicago, 2003, p.173, cat.113.
    Franco Ricca, Arte Buddhista Tibetana: Dei e Demoni dell'Himalaya, Turin, 2004, p.178, fig.IV.12.

    Exhibited
    The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet: Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 6 October – 30 December 1999.
    Arte Buddhista Tibetana: Dei e Demoni dell'Himalaya, Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin, 18 June – 19 September 2004.
    Illumination: Photographs by Lynn Davis, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 6 April – 16 July 2007.
    Casting the Divine: Sculptures of the Nyingjei Lam Collection, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 2 March 2012 – 11 February 2013.

    Provenance
    The Nyingjei Lam Collection
    On loan to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1996-2005
    On loan to the Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 2005-2019

    This energetic sculpture is a striking example of iconographic ingenuity. The dramatic figure is identified by its inscription as the archaic tantric deity Vajrahumkara. He stands in a dramatic pose (pratyalidha) that signifies the throwing of projectile weapons, as he is certainly about to release the vajra brandished in his top right hand—an enduring symbol of Buddhism's ability to dispel ignorance. With his primary hands, Vajrahumkara appears to conflate the eponymous thunderbolt-sound gesture (vajrahumkara mudra), formed by crossing the wrists, with the warning gesture (tarjani mudra), formed by pointing index figures, in one of the most unique mudras seen in Buddhist art. His wrathful expression is not represented by the traditional grimace, but by one half of his mouth biting his lower lip while the other snarls—yet another unusual feature of this unique sculpture. Heavily cast in a manner that seems to further substantiate the figure's terrific power, this distinctive sculpture is one of the earliest and largest bronzes of Vajrayana Buddhism's rarest deities, absent from most collections.
     
    The sculpture is thought to be among the earliest surviving bronzes produced for worship in Tibet. Its heavy, copper-rich casting and skilled sense of movement are hallmarks of Newari craftsmanship commissioned by Tibetan patrons. An ethnic group from the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, Newars are master artisans of unparalleled skill, who were frequently employed for major artistic projects in Tibet from as early as the 7th century. The majority of sculptures forming the distinguished stylistic group this sculpture belongs to are located within monastic repositories in Lhasa. Von Schroeder has published a significant amount, including a closely related figure of Trailokyavijaya (von SchroderBuddhist Sculpture in Tibet, Vol. I, Hong Kong, 2003, p.511, no.166B; also see nos.147A-D, 149A-E, 152A-G; and Vol.II, pp.930-40, nos.216A-221A). Scholars have debated their dating, but more recent evidence suggests a range in date between the 9th and 10th centuries (see lot 805 for further discussion).
     
    This powerful Vajrahumkara likely belonged to a sculptural mandala also featuring two other known wrathful deities cast to a similar scale. These are a figure of Manjushri Yamantaka in the Pritzker Collection and another wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1982.220.13). The three probably represent the best examples of wrathful deities from this early stylistic group.

    Pal pointed to a possible source for the set being the Manjushri Namansangiti Tantra or and its related teachings. The Namansangiti is a pivotal early text first translated into Tibetan in the 8th century, and is associated with a number of mandalas dedicated to Manjushri and Vairocana (Huntington & Bangdel, The Circle of Bliss, Columbus, 2003, p.428). The Namansangiti positions Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Perfected Wisdom, as the central emanating force within the cosmos, and the Buddhist pantheon as various emanations. Verse 71, for example, reads, "Indestructibly violent with great delight, he [Manjushri] performs the Hum of Vajrahumkara." (Davidson, "The Litany of Names of Manjushri", in Strickmann (ed.), Tantric and Taoist Studies, Brussels, 1981, p.27.) This would help explain the three sculpture's common references to Manjushri; this figure of Vajrahumkara holds in his outstretched left hand a cylindrical object which likely represents either a pestle or a sutra in the form of a hand scroll, two attributes commonly associated with Manjushri. It would also account for the ministerial crown depicted above Vajrahumkara's formidable gaze, which features the Five Presiding Buddhas with Vairocana positioned at the summit. Vajrahumkara and similar esoteric wrathful deities feature prominently in the early Yoga Tantra tradition which includes the Namansangiti. As another indicator of the sculpture's dating, the Yoga Tantras were promoted in Tibet during the 8th and 10th century before their popularity was replaced in the 11th century by the Highest Yoga Tantras (Anuttarayoga Tantra) during the Second Diffusion of Buddhism.


    銅鎏金金剛哞迦羅像
    尼泊爾,九或十世紀

    造像左足下的榫上刻有藏文銘文:「叭 支 囉 哞 迦 囉」,即梵文「金剛哞迦羅」之意
    喜馬拉雅藝術資源網68445號
    高31釐米(12 1/4 英吋)

    8,000,000-12,000,000港幣

    著錄
    David Weldon與Jane Casey Singer,《The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet:Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection》,倫敦,1999年,頁86-7,圖版10。
    Pratapaditya Pal,《Himalayas:An Aesthetic Adventure》,芝加哥,2003年,頁173,目錄113。
    Franco Ricca,《Arte Buddhista Tibetana:Dei e Demoni dell'Himalaya》,都靈,2004年,頁178,圖IV.12。

    展覽
    「The Sculptural Heritage of Tibet:Buddhist Art in the Nyingjei Lam Collection」,阿什莫林博物館,牛津,1999年10月6日至12月30日。
    「Arte Buddhista Tibetana:Dei e Demoni dell'Himalaya」,布里凱拉西奧宮,都靈,2004年6月18日至9月19日。
    「Illumination:Photographs by Lynn Davis」,魯賓藝術博物館,紐約,2007年4月6日至7月16日。
    「Casting the Divine:Sculptures of the Nyingjei Lam Collection」,魯賓藝術博物館,紐約,2012年3月2日至2013年2月11日。

    來源
    菩薩道收藏
    借展於阿什莫林博物館,牛津,1996年至2005年
    借展於魯賓藝術博物館,紐約,2005年至2019年

    本尊造像姿態雄勁,呈現令人驚嘆之罕見形象。由銘文可知,其塑造了古老密宗之本尊金剛哞迦羅,其造型充滿張力,採用右腿彎曲、左腿伸展之戰鬥姿態,好似即將擲出其右手中可消除蒙昧無明的金剛杵。其主臂當胸,手腕交疊,食指豎直、各結期剋印,整體組成金剛哞迦羅印,為佛教藝術中最稀有的造型之一。造像的另一獨特之處在於其對忿怒相的塑造,此處金剛哞迦羅用一半的上唇咬住下唇,另一半作兇狠狀,仿佛發出嘶吼之聲,頗為罕有。造像十分厚重,體量碩大,題材罕見,年代久遠,很多佛教藝術收藏中都未有涉及。

    此金剛哞迦羅像應為供養於西藏的造像中最早期的作品之一。其材質重、銅含量高、造型動態逼真,帶有紐瓦爾工匠為西藏供養人所造銅像之典型特徵。作為居住在尼泊爾加德滿都河谷的民族,紐瓦爾人在造像方面擁有無與倫比的高超技藝,自七世紀起便時常受僱為西藏製造諸多重要的佛教藝術品。本拍品屬於一組風格獨特的造像,其中大多數作品供奉於拉薩寺廟之中。馮‧施羅德已將該組中的多尊造像出版於其著作中,其中包括一尊與本件金剛哞迦羅聯繫緊密的降三世明王像(參見馮·施羅德,《西藏佛教造像》,卷一,香港,2003年,頁511,編號166B,以及編號147A-D, 149A-E, 152A-G,以及卷二,頁930至40,編號216A-221A)。學者們對其年代曾意見不一,但近期證據表明其應為九世紀與十世紀之間所作(詳情可參見本次805號拍品)。

    本尊雷霆萬鈞的造像或曾與另兩尊體量相似的忿怒相本尊出自同一造像曼陀羅,即Pritzker收藏中的文殊師利大威德明王像以及大都會博物館藏一尊忿怒相文殊菩薩(編號1982.220.13)。此三尊像應為此組早期造像中忿怒尊的最佳範例。

    Pal認為此曼陀羅之來源或為《文殊真實名經》,一部在八世紀時首次譯為藏文的重要早期經典,亦與其他多個文殊菩薩及大日如來之曼陀羅有所關聯(見Huntington 及 Bangdel, 《The Circle of Bliss》,哥倫布,2003年,頁428)。此部經典將代表無上智慧之文殊菩薩視為宇宙之中心,且將整座佛教萬神殿看作文殊菩薩的各種化現。經偈七十一句便道:「金剛堅者大歡喜,金剛哞者哞聲吼」(Davidson, 《The Litany of Names of Manjushri》,Strickmann編《Tantric and Taoist Studies》,布魯塞爾,1981年,頁27)。此偈可解釋三尊造像與文殊菩薩之關聯,即金剛哞迦羅左手握持一圓筒狀物體,或為金剛杵,或為經卷,但兩種均為文殊菩薩所持。本尊面容令人生畏,頭上更帶有一頂法冠,上有以大日如來居頂端之五方佛像。作為其斷代之另一依據,金剛哞迦羅以及其他相似之罕見忿怒相本尊曾於八至十世紀間在密宗瑜珈盛行時地位顯赫,隨後密宗瑜珈在十一世紀前隨著佛教第二次傳入西藏而被無上瑜伽續所取代,他們的身影亦從此掩蓋在歷史塵埃之中。
Contacts
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAHUMKARA  NEPAL, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAHUMKARA  NEPAL, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAHUMKARA  NEPAL, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF VAJRAHUMKARA  NEPAL, 9TH/10TH CENTURY
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