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    Sale 12255

    The Lahiri Collection: Indian and Himalayan Art, Ancient and Modern

    15 March 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 46

    A BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI

    NORTHEAST INDIA, PALA PERIOD, 9TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI
    NORTHEAST INDIA, PALA PERIOD, 9TH CENTURY
    Seated in lalitasana on a lotus base with his right hand lowered in varadamudra, his left resting on the base and holding the stem of a lotus flowering along his upper arm, clad in a dhoti, upavita, and a scarf draped across his chest, bejewelled, his face displaying a serene expression with almond-shaped eyes below incised arched eyebrows, faint smiling lips, his hair piled into a jatamakuta centered by a minute figure of Buddha Amitabha and secured with a tiara, backed by a flaming halo engraved on the reverse with the Buddhist credo "ye dharma hetu"
    4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm.) high


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    Nalanda flourished as a principal Buddhist center and university during the Pala period and was a primary site for the production of bronzes reaching a high point during the 9th century. The relative scarcity of remaining examples can be explained by the intrinsic value of the material itself, which may have resulted in the melting down of old sculptures for the production of new ones. By the 9th century, a mature and highly refined style was achieved that served as a defining prototype for later developments in the Himalayas and Southeast Asia.

    The present work displays the essential features of this ninth century maturation, particularly with regard to the elegantly modeled, slightly bent posture of the figure. While earlier examples, such as an eighth century Bodhisattva in the Patna museum, exhibit a similar style and composition, a century later the sculptors had honed their craft allowing for greater corporal expressiveness and movement of form (U. von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, 1981, p. 230-231, fig. 52F).

    Provenance

    London market, by the early 1990's
    Acquired by 2000