• Indian and Southeast Asian Art auction at Christies

    Sale 2300

    Indian and Southeast Asian Art

    23 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 246

    A highly Important gilt bronze figure of Kunzang Akhor


    Price Realised  


    A highly Important gilt bronze figure of Kunzang Akhor
    Nepal, 13th century
    Seated in dhyanasana with his hands in his lap, clad in a short dhoti incised all over with flowers and a foliate pattern on the hems, adorned with various beaded ornaments and with a raised Tibetan 'a' on his chest, the face with prominent nose flanked by foliate earrings, the hair pulled into a high chignon and secured with a tiara, the base sealed and incised with a double-vajra
    18 3/8 in. (46.7 cm.) high

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    The Bon religion descends from the ancient beliefs of Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism in the eighth century. The early Bon religion was primarily a royal cult. The interaction between Bon and Buddhism in Tibet led to changes in both religions. Some Bon deities were integrated into the Buddhist pantheon and Bon priests adopted monastic practices.

    The deity Kunzang Akhor is the meditational form of Shenlha Okar. He is generally recognized by the Tibetan letter 'A' placed on the chest at the level of the heart. 'A' is the final letter of the Tibetan alphabet, inherent in all the consonants, and is the phonetic symbol of Primeval or Absolute Reality. There are numerous traditions of ritual cycles and meditation practices for Kunzang Akhor. While in Tibetan Buddhism it is common to have a painting created in memorium, in the Bon Religion it is more common and considered of greater merit to commission a sculpture, especially that of Kunzang Akhor.

    The present example ranks among the most important and largest Bon sculptures of its type, any published examples being of much smaller size and less elaborate execution. The earrings on the flared earlobes follow Indian Pala prototypes as further developed in the Khasa Malla style of Western Nepal with its particular emphasis on the treatment of jewelry. The strong modeling of the upper body, hands and feet is very powerfully executed, and features unusual details such as the finger rings.


    Private Collection, Thailand, since 1998

    Pre-Lot Text