Tibetan Buddha showpiece of Sotheby’s Asian spring saleFebruary 20th, 2008 - 5:50 pm ICT by admin
By Uma Nair
New York, Feb 20 (IANS) A historic gilt copper Buddha Vajrasana (seated Buddha) from Tibet belonging to the 14/15th century, estimated at $1.5 to $ 2.5 million, will be the highlight of Sotheby’s spring sale of Indian and southeast Asian art. The sale, which also includes miniatures, will be held in New York March 19 and will feature several works of exceptional quality and provenance.
The sale boasts of a variety of works, featuring Himalayan, Indian and southeast Asian paintings. The 156 paintings, including 38 miniatures, will be on display at the Sotheby’s beginning March 13.
The sale is expected to rake in nearly $8.5 million. The sculpture is one of the largest and the most important early Tibetan gilt bronze figures of Sakyamuni Buddha outside Tibet.
The statue is in pristine condition with a seamless covering of mercury gilding over the meticulously cast figure and a separate pedestal. The face and the neck are painted with powdered gold and pigments in accordance with Tibetan ritual practices.
The iconographic form in which Buddha is seated with his right hand in the earth-touching position or the “bhumisparsha mudra” recalls a momentous episode from his spiritual biography in which he triumphs over “Mara” (negative force) just before his enlightenment.
A 13th century Vajrasattva (the one with the diamond mind), made of gilt, copper and semi-precious stones, sourced from Tibet, will also be on sale from a private European collection at an estimated $400,000.
The “Vajrasattva”, Adamantine Being, is regarded as an archetypal Buddha who remains a “bodhisattva” (the enlightened being) for the benefit of sentient beings and is supplicated in rites of purification. In this exceptionally fine and rare sculpture, Vajrasattva appears strong and youthful, yet with a compassionate gaze and his regal status is evident in his crown and jewellery.
Another highlight of the sale is a grey sandstone torso of the Khmer male deity, Baphuon, from the first half of the 11th century with a slender waist and broad hips.
The figure is clad in a vertically striated sampot (lower body wrap) bound with a plain belt, overlapping folds of a stylised pocket on his left thigh and a fish tail bow tied below his back. Measuring over 30 inches, the piece is being offered from a private collection and is estimated to fetch nearly $600,000.
The sale will offer selection of 38 miniatures, highlighted by an illustration from the Sunder Shringar that depicts Radha and Krishna lying on a bed from a private German collection. It is dated 1780 AD and is estimated to go under the hammer at an estimated $20,000.