• Lot 345

    A fine gilt-bronze and red lacquered figure of Amitayus


    Price Realised  


    A fine gilt-bronze and red lacquered figure of Amitayus
    Kangxi period, early 18th century
    Seated in vajrasana on the pericarp of a double lotus base, both hands resting in dhyanamudra in his lap, originally holding the amrita bottle which is now missing, wearing pleated dhoti with its borders finely engraved with scrolling flowers, bejewelled, partly set with semi-precious stones, shawl curling over both arms and falling over rim of lotus base, his face with serene expression, urna, painted facial details, elongated earlobes with large earrings, crown set in front of his blue coloured chignon and originally topped by the ratna emblem which is also missing, partly with consecration material, both ends of scarf broken off
    42 cm. high

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    Buddha Amitayus (Of infinite Life), is the deity associated with the rites that ensure long life. It is closely connected with Amitabha the Deity of Infinite Light and is thought to preside over the Western Paradise (Sukavati). Amitayus is especially worshipped by the Tibetans who believe that by faith and compassion, life can be extended through long lineages. It is believed that with help of Amitayus' life extending energy, one can achieve self-enlightment and welfare for others.

    The heavy casting, highly intricate base with trailing drapes, very finely incised floral borders and crisp angular features are characteristic of the relatively rare Kangxi period Buddhist bronzes in the Tibetan style, all likely produced in the Imperial workshops. Such figures were offered as presents to members of the Imperial family on birthdays and memorial days. In 1686 (Kangxi's 25th year of reign) for example, the emperor presented his grandmother empress Xiaozhuang with an impressive figure of a four armed Avalokitesvara Shadakshari, believed to be the earliest known dated sculpture to be made in the Imperial palace workshops, see Yang Xin et. al. (eds.), Cultural Relics of Tibetan Buddhism Collected in the Qing Palace, Forbidden City Publishing House, 1992, cat. no. 51. The largest group of figures of this type were comissioned by the Qianlong emperor for his mother's 60th, 70th and 80th birthday, comprising several thousend figures. Closely related examples were sold at Christie's New York, 29 November 1990, lot 48, Christie's Amsterdam, 18 October 1995, lot 340 and Christie's Amsterdam, 2 May 2007, lot 344; two further examples are illustrated in Ulrich von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, 1981, pl. 152A and B, p. 540. The very close correspondance of these known examples would indicate that matrices were used for the fabrication of the wax models required for the casting.

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    From an old European collection

    Pre-Lot Text