Central Tibet, lamas

16th century, Tibet, Khedrup Gonp Sengge, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

16th century, Tibet, Khedrup Gonp Sengge, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The lama holds a rosary in his left hand. His vest is tucked into his lower garment, fastened above the waist, his robe covers his left arm, there is a meditation cloak over his shoulders.

During the 15th and 16th century, many masterpieces were produced in the Tsang district of Central Tibet. They are recognizable through the elaborate metal inlay and sculpted motifs of the garments, the robust facial features (tending to be square, often with silver-inlaid eyes), some characteristics of the lotus base, and the high level of craftsmanship.

13th century, Central Tibet, Rinchen Pel, brass, at the Cleveland Museum

13th century , Central Tibet, labelled ‘Phagmo Trupa’ , brass with copper, silver, gold, turquoise and coral inlay, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

According to an inscription on the back, this earlier work depicts Jigten Gonpö Rinchen Pel, founder of the Drigung Kagyu school of Tibetan buddhism. He is seated on a single-lotus base over an Indian-style throne.

Jigten Gonpo Rinchen Pel, close up

His eyes, his teeth and some hems on his patched robe are inlaid with silver, the diamond-shaped urna on his forehead and some hems on his robe are inlaid with gold.

Jigten Gonpo Rinchen Pel, back detail

His meditation cloak, with a small collar and pleats, is decorated with various incised motifs. His hair is finely incised all over.

Jingten Gonpo Rinchen Pel, base

The lion throne is inlaid with silver, copper, turquoise, lapis lazuli and coral. Apart from snow lions, there is a kneeling monk (patron of the sculpture), a wrathful god (Mahakala) holding various attributes including a sword and a trident, an elephant-headed deity (Ganapati), and apsaras on the row below. The cloth under the lotus is inlaid with copper, gold, silver and turquoise (the design recalls cushions on 7th century sculptures made in Kashmir and Gilgit). On each side, the panel is decorated with auspicious symbols (banner, long-life vase, knot of eternity, parasol).

16th century, Central Tibet, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, copper alloy with paint, at the Lhasa Museum, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

16th century, Central Tibet, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, copper alloy with paint, at the Lhasa Museum, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This sculpture of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, to which cold gold and pigments have been added, is an almost exact copy of one at the Fondation Alain Bordier dated 1400 circa, published in a previous post and reproduced below.

15th century, Tibet, brass inlaid with copper and silver, at the Alain Bordier Foundation (Switzerland).

15th century, Tibet, brass inlaid with copper and silver, at the Fondation Alain Bordier (Switzerland).

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