An exceptionally rare large gilt copper-alloy group of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali Tibet, 17th century (2)

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Lot 13
An exceptionally rare large gilt copper-alloy group of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali
Tibet, 17th century

Sold for HK$ 11,335,625 (US$ 1,461,911) inc. premium
An exceptionally rare large gilt copper-alloy group of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali
Tibet, 17th century
The exquisitely cast nine-headed Vajrabhairava, with flaming red eyebrows and bared fangs in yab-yum embracing his consort Vajravetali with three bulging eyes, standing in alidhasana above a double-lotus base, his sixteen legs are planted on row of birds and animals and rows of subdued Hindu deities including Ganesha and other animals and deities underfoot, the yidam with six fierce human faces around the central bovine head surmounted by skull crowns and a ferocious head, further surmounted by the head of Manjushri, all exquisitely adorned with elaborate jewellery inlaid with turquoise and garlands of skulls and severed heads, the thirty-four arms holding a myriad of finely detailed ritual attributes, the primary hands holding a vajra sceptre and a skull bowl with the swirling blood of enlightenment, all framed by a bold and vibrant flaming mandorla. 49cm (19 1/4in) high (2).

Footnotes

  • 西藏 十七世紀 銅鎏金大威德金剛雙身像

    Himalayan Art Resources item no.16771
    喜馬拉雅藝術資源網16771號

    Provenance:
    Henry Harrison Getty (1838-1919), by repute
    Alice Getty (d.1946), by repute
    Courtenay Morgan, Viscount Tredegar (1867-1934), by repute
    Evan Morgan, 2nd Viscount Tredegar (1893-1949), by repute
    Professor and Mrs Bellerby, by repute
    Mark Dineley (1901-1975)
    Peter Dineley (1938-2018), and thence by descent

    來源:
    傳亨利·哈里遜·蓋蒂舊藏(1838-1919年)
    傳愛麗絲·蓋蒂舊藏(卒於1946年)
    傳卓德嘉子爵考特尼·摩根舊藏(1867-1934年)
    傳特里迪格子爵二世艾文·摩根舊藏(1893-1949年)
    傳貝勒比教授及夫人舊藏
    馬克·戴尼利舊藏(1901-1975年)
    彼得·戴尼利舊藏(1938-2018年),並由家族繼承

    The present figure is a masterpiece of Buddhist sculpture displaying superb casting and craftsmanship vividly exemplified on an impressive scale. The powerfully cast figure of Vajrabhairava with his consort Vajravetali belongs to a highly refined group of sculptures which include certain Nepalese, as well as Chinese and Mongolian stylistic elements, demonstrating the fruitful collaboration between China's imperial court and Tibet's monastic seats of power. Such figures were likely commissioned specifically for the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Central Tibet. The monastery was founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama and later became the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas; by the 18th century it was considered the most powerful and influential monastery.

    Vajrabhairava, also known as Yamantaka, is one of the most formidable deities in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon, a yidam who presides over the great tantras of the highest yoga. He is one of the principal meditation deities in the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Tsongkhapa (1357-1419). The Gelug lineage became the dominant religious power in Tibet during the 17th century and was favoured by the Qing Court. Tsongkhapa and the Qing emperors also promoted themselves as manifestations of the bodhisattva Manjushri, thus contributing to the proliferation of images of Vajrabhairava within China. Images of Vajrabhairava, therefore, carried both religious and imperial connotations, endorsing the Mandate of Heaven of the emperor.

    A fearsome manifestation of the bodhisattva Manjushri, lord of transcendent wisdom; he is surrounded by a three dimensional 'flame mandorla of wisdom' which is in the style of the Newar school. This artistically exceptional figure is likely to have be made by Newar artists in Tibet, infusing Nepalese, Mongolian or Chinese stylistic elements. A related example of a copper-alloy standing Vajrabhairava, 18th century, with a similar elaborate mandorla is illustrated in Buddhist Statues of Tibet: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2003, p.215, no.205. See also a further example of a gilt copper-alloy group of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali, 18th century, in the collection of Detroit Institute of Arts (acc.no.2018.69).

    Vajrabhairava, the Adamantine Terrifier, stands in militant alidhasana with a fan of thirty-four arms surrounding his massive bulk, wearing the six Tantric bone ornaments and the three triratna or triple-gem. The bull's head signifies Vajrabhairava's conquest of the buffalo-headed god, Yama, the lord of death in ancient Indian mythology, thus eliminating the obstacle of death (Sanskrit: yama-antaka) through the enlightened Buddhist state of transcendent wisdom.

    He grasps a panoply of solidly cast attributes, magical weapons and trophies. The myriad arms and heads and trampling legs symbolise the deity's total mastery over all elements that bind sentient beings to the wheel of existence, the constant cycle of birth and death, passions, desires and fears.

    The non-dual union of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali represent the idea of totality encompassing compassion and skilful means embodied by the male and insight and wisdom associated with the female.

    Compare with a related but much smaller (18.4cm high) gilt-bronze group of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali, 18th century, which was sold at Sotheby's New York, 16 March 2016, lot 745; see also a related but much smaller (22.8cm high) gilt copper-alloy figural group of Vajrabhairava, 18th century, which was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 29 November 2016, lot 132.

    合金銅質,鑄九頭三十四臂十六腿大威德金剛本尊像,大威德金剛環抱露漩佛母,正面牛首,怒目張口,環繞六面憤怒像,頂生一面憤怒像,最頂出文殊菩薩真容,八面憤怒像皆頭戴骷顱頭寶冠,火焰眉,寶冠嵌綠松石,耳戴巨環,項繞瓔珞,兩側各生十七臂,臂戴約束,手執法器,腰戴連珠瓔珞,下垂骷髏頭及人頭帶飾,十六足踏於牲畜及禽鳥之上,最下一排八位明妃,作修持貌,底座蓮花台,上下花瓣六層,背插火焰紋背光。

    此件造像氣勢雄渾,造型生動,為佛教造像精彩絕倫之作。大威德金剛懷抱露漩佛母的形象雄壯有力,融合了尼泊爾、西藏和中原造像的風格,乃中原皇權和藏地寺廟密切合作的結晶。此尊造像極有可能是為藏中扎什倫布寺特別鑄造。扎什倫布寺由第一代達賴喇嘛於1447年開宗所建,直至十八世紀仍是西藏最具權勢和影響力的寺廟。

    大威德金剛又稱閻曼德迦,亦可直稱閻魔敵。藏密認為祂是文殊菩薩之化身,文殊菩薩是宗喀巴的本尊和寧瑪八飲血中佛身部的本尊,因此閻魔敵在宗喀巴 (1357年-1419年)創立的格魯派中,備受尊崇。格魯派受到清朝皇室的支持,由是成為十七世紀西藏最具權勢的教派,接管了全藏的政教事務,成為第一大教派,宗喀巴本人也被教徒奉為文殊菩薩的化身。因為和清廷的密切關係,格魯派亦將中國皇帝奉為文殊菩薩的化身,此後文殊菩薩的形象在清代廣為供奉。故此,大威德金剛的形象既有宗教意義,又確認了君權神授的神性。

    大威德金剛為文殊菩薩的忿怒相,屬教令輪身,乃事業根本,為藏密無上瑜伽寶生部三本尊。此件宏製極有可能出自旅居西藏的尼泊爾工匠內瓦爾(Newari)人,兼蓄蒙古及中原造像風格。可參考一件相關之十八世紀銅合金大威德金剛立像,其背光與本件拍品頗似,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集59: 藏傳佛教唐卡》,香港,2003年,頁215,編號205;亦可參考底特律美術館藏一件十八世紀銅鎏金大威德金剛像,館藏編號 2018.69。

    大威德金剛又稱怖畏金剛,其形象一般是九頭,正面牛頭,每頭三目,頭戴五個骷髏冠,背生三十四臂,執鈴、杵、刀、劍、弓、瓶、索、鉤、戟等兵器。牛頭形象源自古印度閻魔敵鎮伏閻魔水牛的神話,後者乃是死亡的化身,實則象徵修行者內心尚未克服指邪魔與愚昧。三十四臂和十六條退象徵佛理中的智慧、勇猛、精進和堅固,同時示現生死之輪迴,恐懼、慾望以及激情的幻變。

    參考一件相關的十八世紀銅鎏金大威德金剛與佛母像,體量較小(18.4釐米),2016年3月16日售於紐約蘇富比,拍品編號745;另可比較一件十八世紀銅鎏金大威德金剛,體量亦較本件小之(22.8釐米),2016年11月29日售於香港邦瀚斯,拍品132號。

    PLEASE REFER TO THE E-CATALOGUE FOR A FULL RESEARCH ARTICLE BY LUO WENHUA, RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE PALACE MUSEUM, BEIJING

    請查看電子圖錄以閱覽羅文華先生對此拍品之相關論述
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An exceptionally rare large gilt copper-alloy group of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali Tibet, 17th century (2)
An exceptionally rare large gilt copper-alloy group of Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali Tibet, 17th century (2)
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