A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA KHASA MALLA, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
Lot 3019
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
KHASA MALLA, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
Sold for US$ 1,392,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
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A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA KHASA MALLA, 13TH/14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA KHASA MALLA, 13TH/14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA KHASA MALLA, 13TH/14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA KHASA MALLA, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
KHASA MALLA, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
Himalayan Art Resources item no.61544
23 in. (58.5 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 卡薩瑪拉 十三/十四世紀 銅鎏金釋迦牟尼佛坐像

    This Buddha is one of the largest bronzes thus far attributed to the lost Khasa Malla kingdom of Western Tibet and Western Nepal (flourished 13th century). It was evidently produced by the artist(s) in their prime, exhibiting the highest quality of modeling, casting, chasing, and gilding.

    His formidable frame is softened by the sinuous fluidity of the sheer sanghati clinging to his body, and the delicate engraving on the double hemlines, showing scrolling vines and rice grain patterns. The caster has achieved a beautiful balance and symmetry between the precise 'fishtail' lapel of Shakyamuni's robe over the left, coupled with its hems pooling around his ankles.

    Fleshy cheeks, heavy-lidded eyes, and plump lips convey the auspiciousness of a well-nourished being, integral to the criteria for beauty within Nepalese aesthetics. He smiles cheerfully, very much present before his audience, where other large Buddha images seem deliberately aloof.

    Exemplary of the Khasa Malla tradition, the back of the sculpture's base is plain and painted with red pigment. The double-lotus band across the front and sides, however, has plump, double-lobed petals incised with an eyelash motif. Below them runs a frieze with an upright vajra flanked by side ribbons at the center of a bed of scrolling vines, floral roundels, and a pair of lions.

    Siudmak finds the origins of Khasa Malla lotus bases in the bronze sculpture of Kashmir (Siudmak,The Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Ancient Kashmir and its Influences, 2013, p.462). However, details particular to this rare instance of a large Khasa Malla Buddha surviving with its original base, and that base having an even rarer ornate band, appear to indicate borrowings from the Pala style. This can be gleaned from the similarity of the scrolling lotus vines and the lions facing outwards with their tails whipping over their backs (cf. Huntington, Leaves from the Bodhi Tree, Dayton, 1990, no.36). Yet closer still, the bronze appears to be in union with the 14th-century Newari painted murals of the South chapel of Shalu monastery in Southern Tibet, with its inverted flowers presented as closed blossoms or palmettes. The only other known large sculpture to feature a similar lower band is a bronze of Avalokiteshvara Shadakshari from the Sandor Fuss Collection, which is embellished with simpler floral decoration (Rossi & Rossi, 2007, no.7).

    In discussion of the present lot, Ian Alsop states:

    "It is notable for the mystery that surrounds the Khasa Malla dynasty... The Khasa Mallas were kings with somewhat contradictory origins and leanings. As Indo-Aryans who first used the language now known as Nepali – the state language of the world's "only Hindu kingdom" – they were apparently Buddhists who ruled an area containing both Tibetan Buddhists and Brahmanical Nepalese."
    (Foxun–zaoxiang yishu jicui – The Art of Buddhist Sculpture, Beijing, 2013, p.124):

    The bronze sculpture patronized by these kings borrowed from the broader Newari tradition of the Kathmandu Valley, while also distinguishing itself from it. The acutely defined knuckles of the right hand and the ribbon-form jeweled earrings are two such idioms setting the Khasa Malla style apart, in addition to the aforementioned base. Related examples included a smaller Buddha on a plain lotus base, with a similarly broad and robust frame, sold at Sotheby's, New York, 17 June 1993, lot 9. Two without their bases are in the collection of the Patan Museum (http://asianart.com/patan-museum/a10.html) and the Rubin Museum of Art (HAR#65687). Another large Khasa Malla Buddha of bulkier proportions on an unglided lotus base within a private Beijing collection is published in Dependent Arising - Himalayan Art, Beijing, 2018, no.58. Also compare with large sculptures of the Bon figure of Tonpa Shenrab in the Pritzker Collection (HAR#58313).

    Published
    Yixi Pingcuo, Haiwai huiliu xizang wenwu jingcui (Quintessence of Returning Tibetan Cultural Relics From Overseas), Beijing, 2012, pp.52-3.
    Zaoxiang Yishu Jicui, The Art of Buddhist Sculpture Beijing, 2013, p.125.

    Exhibited
    Quintessence of Returning Tibetan Cultural Relics from Overseas, Tibet Museum, Lhasa, June 2012.
    The Art of Buddhist Sculpture, Capital Museum, Beijing, 8 - 28 November 2013.

    Provenance
    Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong, 2004
    Private Asian Collection
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