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    Sale 2117

    The Ideal Image Eight Masterpieces Of Indian And Southeast Asian Art

    21 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 504

    A highly important thangka of Vairocana


    Price Realised  


    A highly important thangka of Vairocana
    Central Tibet, circa 13th century
    Superbly painted with the three-headed Vairocana seated in attentive attitude on a lotus throne with multi-colored petals and supported by addorsed lions, surrounded by a chorus of celestial beings, including Buddhas, Indian Buddhist monks, and male and female Bodhisattvas arranged in registers, adorned with lavish accoutrements including crown, earrings, necklaces, armlets, anklets, and belt, and a lower garment of richly designed textiles, backed by a pillow with elaborate foliate design
    58¼ x 45½ in. (148 x 116 cm.)

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    This early painting is of exceptional size and overall state of preservation. The execution is particularly fine with bold fluid lines and the extraordinary calm, restraint, and monumentality typical of the best examples of the period.
    The composition observes principles of bilateral symmetry, with the main figure flanked by harmoniously arranged figures and motifs on either side of a central axis. The painting was created by an artist with remarkable skill and sensitivity, evident not only in the beautifully juxtaposed color fields and balanced composition but also in details such as the elegantly poised cloth ties on Vairocana's shoulders, and the exquisitely rendered lotus petals.


    European Collection

    Pre-Lot Text

    The Great Illuminator
    Vairocana ('Great Illuminator') is an idealization of the central function of the Buddha as a teacher, without which there would have been no Buddhism and no path to enlightenment. He is depicted in the gesture of Supreme Wisdom with the fingers of his left hand wrapped around the index finger of his right.
    He is the central figure of the Five Celestial Buddhas. Each deity is associated with a color, direction, gesture, and vehicle. Vairocana represents the center and is colored white. His Transcendental Wisdom transforms the ego-bound consciousness into universal consciousness.