Tibet, Shakyamuni seated – bhumisparsha mudra (4)

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Buddhist Art on https://www.buddhist-art.net.

We saw recently a brass sculpture of the historical buddha with a similar v-shaped hairline and prominent knop, seated on a double-lotus base with apple-like petals. This one has a row of exceptionally large beading at the bottom. His right hand is just above the upper rim, in his traditional gesture to call Earth to witness (his enlightenment).

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk.

More often, the middle finger touches the base. In this case, the forefinger is slightly forward. The buddha’s punched navel and the waist of his lower garment are visible through his partially folded robe, the border of the cloth is decorated with a chased pattern.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy) with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by 25, Blythe Road http://www.25blytheroad.com.

Here the little finger and forefinger of his right hand are slightly extended forward.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s https://www.christies.com.

Conventionally, when the right hand calls Earth to witness, the left hand is held in the meditation gesture.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

This buddha presses three fingers of his right hand onto the base.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Michaans https://www.michaans.com.

And on this example the hand is above the base, no finger entering in contact with it.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

It is very rarely held at a slant.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Florence Number Nine on https://www.liveauctioneers.com.

This one has four fingers going over the edge of the lotus base.

 

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Tibet, Shakyamuni – seated (19)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

A buddha with high cheekbones, a large forehead and prominent chin, dressed in a patched monastic robe, the tail end of his inner and outer garment arranged in a scallop shape under his ankles.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Galerie Petillon https://www.galeriepetillon.nl.

We have seen many brass buddhas whose sanghati was decorated with an engraved and copper-inlaid hem, most of them attributed to 14th century Tibet.

15th-16th century, Tibet or Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the State Heritage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

16th century, Shakyamuni (formerly labelled Akshobhya), gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) private collection, photo by Christie’s https://www.christies.com.

The gilding and luxurious Chinese silk garment loosely draped around Shakyamuni’s body may seem inconsistent with his vow of poverty and his begging bowl but they became fashionable in parts of Tibet from around the 15th century.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni (labelled Bhaisajyaguru), bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Even so, plain copper alloy works were still produced throughout the following centuries. The above has traces of cold gold on the face and blue pigment on the hair.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Rich gilding gradually became the norm even when he wears the patched robe of a mendicant.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The sanghati is sometimes so diaphanous that we can see the buddha’s navel and the waist of his lower garment (but not the left nipple in this case, reminding us of his human condition. Part of the cloth has slipped away from his shoulder and the artist has rendered the resulting folds in a realistic manner.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper and pigments, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

Due to its large size (137 cm tall), this item is thought to have been a major altar piece.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, at the British Museum in London (UK).

A curious case of a buddha with two urnas and wearing his outer garment very low down.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – shoulder covering (3)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller https://www.kollerauktionen.ch.

A powerful figure with a square face and high forehead, broad shoulders, dressed in a robe with an incised geometrical motif on the hem and a small piece of cloth forming a ‘swallow tail’ shape over the left shoulder.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel https://www.auction.de .

This buddha with a V-shaped hair line and a prominent lotus bud finial on his chignon is seated on a lotus base with plump apple-like petals often seen on works attributed to the 14th (and early 15th) century. A portion of his robe is arranged like a fish tail across his shoulder.

15th century, Tibet or Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with pigments, Alan Naftalis collection, on Himalayan Art Resources https://www.himalayanart.org/items/86303.

The above is seated on a plain cushion, holding an alms bowl filled with nectar in his left hand. There is no draping across his left shoulder, or his left arm.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s https://www.sothebys.com.

On rare occasions, the last layer of fabric drops vertically at the front (rather than across the left arm) and is partly covered by the folds on the left shoulder.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s https://www.christies.com.

As we have seen in previous posts, late works with Chinese-style features often show the buddha with his right shoulder covered too, but not the arm and chest.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Capriaquar on Asianart.com http://www.asianart.com/capriaquar.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – with vajra sceptre (4)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Roy Hu’s Asian Art on http://www.trocadero.com

A traditional portrait of the historical buddha in a patched garment, a vajra sceptre placed before him on the lotus base. He has a square face with a raised urna and a single eyebrow line. His thick curls are topped with a lotus bud finial.

The artist has used beading for the edge of the robe, which is draped so that the extremity doesn’t show at the front.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller https://www.kollerauktionen.ch.

This is a similar lotus base but the vajra sceptre is half embedded in it.

Circa 1400, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s https://www.christies.com.

According to Christie’s, Bodhgaya (where the historical buddha reached enlightenment) was known as Vajrasana, which is why Himalayan sculptors used this attribute on sculptures of Shakyamuni when depicted with the traditional ‘calling Earth to witness’ hand position.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s https://www.christies.com.

This impressive figure wears a diaphanous  sanghati with a particularly ornate border.

A portion of the garment is arranged over the left shoulder in a bell-like shape.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s https://www.sothebys.com/.

The chignon or ‘ushnisha‘ displayed by this buddha is made of particularly thick, almost spiky hair curls and topped with a large lotus bud finial, his lips have been painted with red pigment.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy) with pigment, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – unusual works (6)

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The artist gave this buddha a rather severe look with slightly slanted silver-inlaid eyes and a thick unibrow, contrasting with the generous nose and fleshy lips. His robe loosely covers his left arm up to the elbow, a thin strip of cloth elegantly folded over the shoulder.

15th century, Western Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Aguttes https://www.aguttes.com.

This figure has smooth hair curls and a low cylindrical chignon topped with a lotus and jewel finial; his eyes are inlaid with silver in the Indian Pala-style (the pupil partly covered by the upper eyelid). His sanghati covers all of the left arm and drops vertically at the front; the ‘fishtail’ end over the shoulder is decorated with an incised geometrical pattern reminiscent of early works from the Ngari district in Western Tibet.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Casa Cambi d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com.

Another dark copper alloy sculpture of Shakyamuni, an alms bowl in his left hand, his facial features painted with cold gold and pigments, his hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder, wearing a robe with a plain wide border. A particularly unusual feature is the left leg placed over the right leg rather than the reverse.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel https://www.auction.de.

Also holding a begging bowl, the above is seated on a double-lotus base with a plain rim above a tall plinth decorated with embossed diamonds and bearing an inscription at the front.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Koller https://www.kollerauktionen.ch.

The lower part of this lotus base is decorated with mythical creatures, possibly dragons.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy) with traces of gilding and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s https://www.christies.com.

The use of black (instead of blue) and white paint for the eyes is probably a substitute for silver inlay.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, wood with cold gold, pigments and lacquer, at the British Museum in London (UK).

On this wooden sculpture, cold gold has been used to paint the body and face and to delineate the motifs on the robe, the petals and stamens on the lotus  base, and to decorate the lower rim, while red pigment has been used for the inner garments and the palm of the hands.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni (labelled ‘Amitabha or historical buddha), gilt bronze with pigments, at the Liverpool World Museum.

The hole on the chest of this buddha and the round perforations (rather than elongated ones) in his earlobes suggest that he once wore earrings and a necklace and since he has a buddha appearance (short curly hair, sanghati, no bracelets or anklets) we are likely to be looking at Shakyamuni in his crown buddha appearance (the crown now missing), his left hand holding an alms bowl, the other ‘calling Earth to witness’. He is seated on a rare openwork lotus base with a plain rim.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – shoulder covering (2)

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Up to the 15th century, Tibetan sculptures normally depict the historical buddha with his right shoulder bare, one extremity of his robe neatly arranged over the other shoulder.

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Sometimes there is no piece of cloth over the left shoulder.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Here, the fabric is pleated in two different manners and goes from neck to shoulder.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A recurrent design is the ‘swallow tail’ fold.

Early 15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s https://www.christies.com.

Another is the ‘fish tail’.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with silver beading and black pigment, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this rare work with silver beaded seams there are several layers of fabric pleated over the left shoulder and we can see the thin inner garment showing next to the beaded edge of the sanghati.

The two garments are also showing over the ankles, both with a rice grain motif on the hem, and under the ankles, the pleats arranged in a scallop shape.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s https://www.sothebys.com/.

A rare example of double pleating with a ‘raining jewel’ design at the centre.

This particular buddha is made of five parts cleverly assembled together.

A view of the back shows how the flap that shows at the front passes through a slot in the fabric to prevent the garment from slipping.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Here the fabric forms a pointed end and is placed close to the neck rather than across the shoulder.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Florence Number Nine Srl on  http://www.buddhacollectors.com/auctions-archive.html.

Same as above, but the edge of the strip  is perpendicular to the edge of the robe.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Aguttes on https://www.aguttes.com.

From the 15th and especially the 16th century onwards, Chinese-style buddhas often have the right shoulder covered (but not the arm or chest).

Tibet, Shakyamuni – variants

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Shakyamuni at his time of enlightenment, seated on a lotus base, his right hand calling Earth to witness, his left hand held on his lap.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk .

With an alms bowl in his left hand, he looks like the wisdom buddha Akshobhya.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

And, like Akshobhya, he may have a vajra sceptre before him on the lotus base.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

With both hands in the meditation gesture to support a begging bowl, he looks like Amitabha (whose bowl is filled with the nectar of immortality).

Late 15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

‘Turning the wheel of the law’, like Maitreya and sometimes Vairochana.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Hanhai Auction http://hanhaiauction.com/.

Seated on a plain cushion, dressed in sanghati with thick transversal pleats. We have seen quite a few buddhas (historical or other) depicted this way, most of them dated circa 17th century.