A GILT COPPER FIGURE OF MANJUSHRI NAMASANGITI NEPAL, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
Lot 3203
A GILT COPPER FIGURE OF MANJUSHRI NAMASANGITI
NEPAL, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
Sold for US$ 672,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
A GILT COPPER FIGURE OF MANJUSHRI NAMASANGITI NEPAL, 13TH/14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER FIGURE OF MANJUSHRI NAMASANGITI NEPAL, 13TH/14TH CENTURY A GILT COPPER FIGURE OF MANJUSHRI NAMASANGITI NEPAL, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
A GILT COPPER FIGURE OF MANJUSHRI NAMASANGITI
NEPAL, 13TH/14TH CENTURY
Himalayan Art Resources item no.58573
6 1/4 in. (15.8 cm) high

Footnotes

  • 尼泊爾 十三/十四世紀 銅鎏金十二臂文殊菩薩像

    This masterfully sculpted figure of Manjushri Namasangiti represents a pinnacle of Newari artistic expression. He has a magnetic aura centering on a handsome Newari face, and despite his complex array of arms, the subtle flection of each finger seems to return the viewer's gaze back towards his deeply peaceful expression.

    Manjushri Namasangiti is one of the most important deities within the Newari Buddhist tradition of the Kathmandu Valley. As touched upon by the above excerpt, he is conceived as the spiritual progenitor of all Tathagathas and the entire Buddhist cosmos. As such his multi-armed form as Namansangiti here is a metaphor for his cosmic portent, providing him with six arms to represent each of the five Buddha families and Vajrasattva.

    The highly contoured primary hands held in an open vyakarana mudra symbolize Vairocana's gesture of exposition. The second pair of hands gesture tarpana mudra sprinkling ambrosia into the bowl, while the fingertips touch the projecting head of Shakyamuni coming out of it in patrastha amrita kshepana mudra. The third pair in samadhi mudra supports the bowl in his lap containing amrita nectar. The fourth and fifth pair of hands, outstretched, would have held the attributes of the sword, the manuscript, and bow and arrow. The sixth pair is joined above the head in vajrachakra mudra, also referred to as Adamantine Circle, symbolizing Mount Meru (uttarabodhi mudra), in turn galvanizing the relationship with Vajrasattva.

    The sculpture bears evidence of careful yet ardent worship over the past half millennia. The worn face is now honey-colored as the gilded layer has rubbed into the dark coppery surface underneath. Its smooth patina is indicative of reverent touching. Meanwhile, the legs and limbs, where the gilding is lost, are dark and rough owing to heavy applications of vermillion, curds and unguents, applied and cleaned in a constant cycle of veneration. By contrast, the rich gilded lustrous surface preserved at the back suggests the worship of this sculpture would have been conducted while it was installed in a small, possibly private shrine, and not handled in the round.

    At the turn of the 13th century, North India was transformed culturally by a series of catastrophic raids that effectively eradicated Buddhism from the region. Monks and laymen connected with monastic universities (mahaviharas) perished or fled, many finding refuge in Nepal for a while. The Kathmandu Valley Buddhist community was immeasurably enriched by this influx of talent, scriptures, and small bronzes brought over by refugees, prompting the already rich tradition of artistic exchange between India and the Newars, stretching far back into the Gupta and Licchavi periods (c.5th-8th centuries), to flourish. It is possible that the Newar artist who created this Namasangiti sculpture was inspired by Pala art. The deity is unknown in India, yet the technical dexterity of casting resembles examples of multi-arm forms of Manjushri from Northeastern Indian medieval sculpture. For a possible Pala antecedent see von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p.291, no.73C.

    This representation of Manjushri is extremely rare and only known in Nepal, with no more than a handful of examples known and published. Two examples, dated to the 17th century, are held by the National Museum in Kathmandu, see Huntington, Circle of Bliss, Los Angeles, 2003, p.428, no.132; and Waldschmidt, Nepal, The Hague, 1967, no.43. Another smaller and less refined example is in von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p.356, no.94A. An illustration from the 12th-century Paramartha Namasangiti manuscript in the Los Angeles Museum of Art depicts the deity in red color, and holding two upright staffs (acc.#M.83.7.3; Pal, Art of Nepal, Los Angeles, 1985, p.199, no.P5). A complex paubha of the deity is preserved in the British Museum (acc.#1949,1210,0.13), see Pal, The Art of Nepal, Leiden, 1977, no.92). It shows a complex retinue of deities associated with his practice.

    Earrings with multi-stone insets defining the flower ornament, the crown type and armbands are common to Newari work of the early Malla period. For a close comparison in a Shadaksari, dated to the 14th century, with similar treatment of the projecting scarf elements, see von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p.359, no.95C. In its superb casting, lustrous gilding, skillfully inset gems and size, the sculpture may be compared with the Yogambara sold at Bonhams, New York, 17 March 2014, lot 5. Also compare with a 13th-century group of Shiva Vinadhara and Parvati formerly in the Sporer Collection, sold at Christie's, New York, 15 September 2015, lot 2.

    Provenance
    Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, New York, early 1960s
    Sotheby's, New York, 2 November 1988, lot 80
    Private European Collection
    Carlton Rochell Asian Art, New York, 15 September 2010
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armour, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $250,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $250,001 to $4,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12.5% on the excess over $4,000,001 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Lilia Chen
    Auction administration - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0033
  2. Mark Rasmussen
    Specialist - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1688
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
  3. Edward Wilkinson
    Specialist - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 2918 4321
  4. Doris Jinhuang
    Specialist - Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1620
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
Similar Items