Tibet, Shakyamuni – unusual works (9)

11th century, Western Tibet, Guge kingdom, Shakyamuni, brass, private collection, after G. Tucci in Tibet, Land of Snows, London 1967, ill. p 177.

An early and powerful image of the historical buddha with Pala-style facial features, his urna slightly off centre above the unibrow, a large lotus bud finial on his chingon, his tight-fitting robe decorated with a zig-zag incision along the hem, the punched navel and the straight waist of his lower garment showing through the thin fabric, two layers of cloth gathered in thick folds below his ankles.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 736 China 4.

A dark bronze figure with silver-inlaid eyes and a very thick unibrow, no urna, no nipples (as is often the case on early Tibetan works), seated on an unusual lotus base with a row of beading between the two lotuses and more beading at the top and at the bottom. The small piece of cloth over his left shoulder forms a geometrical shape with a pointed end. We will note the small feet and the thick hands with three fingers almost the same length.

17th-18th century (or earlier?), Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (brass with silver-inlaid or painted eyes?), private collection, photo isabelle Bresset on artcurial

Seated on a double-lotus base with small plump petals associated with the (circa) 12th century, his pile of thick hair curls topped with a double lotus bud finial, no nipples visible, this buddha with delicate hands wears an inner and an outer robe with a thick hem, and a lower garment with an embroidered border. A raised urna is placed at the centre of his thin unibrow.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, ivory with traces of gilding, private collection, photo on Beaussant-Lefèvre

A rare ivory sculpture of the historical buddha seated on a squarish lotus base, his right foot in an unnatural position, a long piece of fabric going over his left shoulder and down his chest.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, separate base, private collection, photo by Koller.

Instead of a plain or patched robe, this buddha with large limbs wears a garment made of long strips of fabric sewn together.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, steatite with red and black lacquer, private collection, photo on Drouot .

A rare stone sculpture of a buddha with a cloak knotted at the front and covering both shoulders.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – variants (3)

15th century (or earlier?), Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo on Hardt

The historical buddha dressed in a transparent robe that reveals the waist of his undergarment, his lips and the border of his robe inlaid with copper, his eyes and urna inlaid with silver, seated on a tall lotus base with plump petals, all of which we have often seen on early (13th-14th century) works from Tibet. We have only seen a few early buddhas seated on a beaded cushion as above, most of them dated 13th century.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo on Nagel .

One of a group of buddhas seated on a double-lotus base with elongated petals with a sharply pointed end, displaying the same type of facial features and hairstyle, the undergarment tightly pleated under the breast, the sanghati decorated with an incised border, a small vajra sceptre placed on top of the seat.

15th century, Western Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

This rare image depicts the historical buddha with a jewelled finial (and no hair bun or chignon), wearing a diaphanous robe with part of the cloth falling vertically on the left side.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gitl bronze with cold gold and pigment, private collection, photo by Nagel.

A plain robe with an incised hem and a section of the cloth arranged in two scallop-shaped layers over his left shoulder.

15th century, Western Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (brass), with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Andrew Lau for Hollywood Galleries

A copper-inlaid hem and a classic ‘swallow tail’ draping over the left shoulder.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by 25 Blythe Road.

A sanghati with a multitude of soft pleats across the chest and left arm.

16th c. cir., Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, 20,5 cm, MC Daffos, aaoarts.com

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts  

The classic patched robe with beaded seams.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

With a very loosely draped robe, disproportionate arms and torso, an elongated neck and face, all of which help date the piece.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper repoussé, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 104 China 2.

Dressed in silk clothing draped in the Chinese fashion.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – seated (22)

12th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection?, photo on Artkhade

This Indo-Tibetan masterpiece depicts the historical buddha with a very large lotus bud finial on his chignon, his right hand calling Earth to witness his enlightenment. There is no cloth folded over his left shoulder but we can see that a piece of the garment rests across his left arm, a common feature in Tibet.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni (labelled ‘Akshobhya’), copper alloy, with copper inlay and pigments, photo by VAN HAM.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with copper-inlaid seam, private collection, photo by Koller, sale A187AS.

Two buddhas with a large raised urna above their unibrow and a sanghati with a copper-inlaid hem decorated with an incised geometrical pattern, a recurrent feature in 13th and 14th century Tibet, usually featuring a rice grain or a lotus motif.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 105 China 1.

A simpler way of decorating the hem, without the copper inlay. Note the ‘swallow tail’ over the left shoulder, the delicate hands and the oblong urna at the centre of the unibrow. We can see a raised wheel of dharma on the sole of his right foot.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 104 China 2.

Two noteworthy features here are the way the cloth drops almost vertically across the left arm and the short and broad ‘swallow tail’ arranged over the shoulder and down the arm.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Drouot.

A sanghati with a wavy pattern on the hem.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with copper and turquoise inlay, at the MAAS in Sydney (Australia).

Shakyamuni wearing a patched robe with beaded seams, a floral pattern engraved on each patch, the border decorated with a geometrical motif, seated on a rare lotus base with an incised two-tier plinth.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by F. Gousset for aaoarts.

With two layers of clothing clearly visible and thick pleating over his left shoulder.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Koller.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigment, private collection, photo by Koller, sale A189AS.

Tibet, shakyamuni – metal variants (4)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Amita Gallery.

The use of silver inlay for the eyes came to Tibet via Kashmiri and Indian artists, who didn’t normally apply gilding to their works.

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

In parts of Tibet (such as the Ngari area in Western Tibet), plain copper alloy was often decorated with a stippled and/or incised motif, such as the lotus flowers on this buddha’s sanghati and the geometrical pattern on the hem.

14th century, Tibet, metal (brass with copper inlay and pigments), private collection, photo on HAR

On many 13th and 14th century Tibetan brass sculptures the garments (of buddhas, bodhisattvas and lamas) have a copper-inlaid and incised border. This buddha’s robe has a floral motif. A different decoration has been used for the folds over his shoulders (see close up here). There are traces of cold gold on his face and neck. His nails are also inlaid with copper.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt metal with painted face and hair, Sonam Gyaltsen and atelier, private collection, photo on HAR

Richly gilt and stone-inlaid works such as those found at the Densatil monastery and others attributed to Sonam Gyaltsen (whose atelier was in the Tsang province) and his followers is due to the influence of Newari artists from the Kathmandu Valley. But before that, the Newars already used (cold) gold to adorn wooden statues. One example is the famous sandalwood statue of Avalokiteshvara known as ‘Phagpa Lokeshvara’ at the Potala’ (see article by Ian Alsop) which may date from the 7th century.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – seated (21)

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Hardt

An unusual image of the historical buddha seated on a Pala-style lotus base with incised (rather than modelled) beading, the hem of his sanghati decorated with a triangular pattern, his smiling face painted with cold gold, a lotus bud finial on his chignon.

14th century, Tibet or India, Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt as before.

Quite a different image with a serene face, thick hair curls, a lobed abdomen and large nipple, seated on a base with no apparent lotus petals, the hem of his clothes roughly incised.

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, metal, private collection, photo on HAR 

With painted facial features, the eyes rendered in the Indian Pala style, the hem of his sanghati incised with a semi-circular motif, the edge of his undergarments showing next to it.

14th century, Western Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Koller, sale W245AS.

The way the fingers of the left hand are held suggests that this buddha held a begging bowl.

14th century, Central Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie, Paris, December 2018.

With a lotus print on the border of his copper-inlaid robe, his hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder, the hands and nails modelled in a naturalistic manner.

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, metal (gilt copper alloy), private collection, photo on HAR

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni (labelled ‘Akshbhya’), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie Paris June 2019.

With a vajra sceptre before him on the lotus base to symbolise his moment of enlightenment, his face painted with cold gold.

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, metal (gilt copper alloy), private collection, photo on HAR

With square shoulders and an elongated torso, wearing a patched robe with beaded seams, a chubby face with large slanted eyes.

Undated (circa 13th-14th century?), Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Ravenel.

With part of the sanghati dropping vertically at the front instead of resting over the left arm.

14th c., Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt metal, Nagel-Auktion-710_0832-3

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 710.

With a long row of pleats over the left shoulder and the lower part of his garments gathered in a scallop shape under his ankles.

13th-14th century (or later?), Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Armand Antiques

Wearing a robe with a broad hem incised with a solar motif, seated on a tall waisted lotus base with large rounded petals.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze with pigment, photo on Nagel .

Tibet, Shakyamuni – unusual works (8)

12th century, Kashmir or Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo by Hardt Auctions, Asian Art sale 6.

We saw another two similar works, dated 11th-12th century (see below for comparison). The buddha is seated on a lotus in a stupa niche, flanked by two birds and some decorative panels, in this case, with a semi-circular motif.

11th-12th century, Ladakh or Tibet, Shakyamuni, photo by Sotheby’s.

11th-12th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, is or was in Lhasa, photo Ulrich von Schroeder.

 

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo on Nagel

There are not many sculptures of the historical buddha seated on a single lotus, especially with the petals going downwards as would be the case on early works.The hem of his sanghati is decorated with a chased geometrical motif and the thin strip of fabric over his shoulder has a stippled pattern and an incised border. Such features on a brass sculpture are often seen on early works attributed to Western Tibet.

Circa 14th century? (labelled ’17th-18th century, gilt bronze’), Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s

Another brass buddha with a stippled and engraved motif on the hem of his robe.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni and the sixteen arhats, polychrome copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s (Arts d’Asie 2018).

Shakyamuni is at the centre of the second row from the top, with Shariputra and Maugdalalyana standing on each side and two lamas above him.

The foot of the tree is protected by Yellow Jambhala and the four Guardian Kings.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni and the sixteen elders (arhats), metal (copper alloy, cold gold, pigments), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

This tree is supported by a lion throne with a visvajra at the front. Shakyamuni is much larger and surrounded by an arch.

Tibet, Shakyamuni with vajra sceptre – (6)

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy with traces of gilding and pigment), private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 104 China 2.

The vajra sceptre on Shakyamuni’s seat symbolises his moment of enlightenment at Bodhgaya (see on Himalayan Art Resources).

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 104 China 2.

On occasions the attribute is almost sunken into the base and barely visible.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy with silver-beaded seams, private collection, photo by Bonhams, sale 25150.

When he has a vajra sceptre before him, the historical buddha does the ‘calling Earth to witness’ gesture with his right hand while the other is held in the gesture of meditation.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

According to an inscription around the base, this sculpture was commissioned by a certain Konchog Paldzin.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni (labelled ‘Akshobhya’), gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by PBA Auctions.