A RARE AND FINE PAINTING OF A SHAT CHAKRAVARTI MANDALA
A RARE AND FINE PAINTING OF A SHAT CHAKRAVARTI MANDALA
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THE JOHN C. AND SUSAN L. HUNTINGTON COLLECTION
A RARE AND FINE PAINTING OF A SHAT CHAKRAVARTI MANDALA

CENTRAL TIBET, 15TH-16TH CENTURY

细节
A RARE AND FINE PAINTING OF A SHAT CHAKRAVARTI MANDALA
CENTRAL TIBET, 15TH-16TH CENTURY
28 1/2 x 24 in. (72.4 cm. x 61 cm.)
来源
William H. Wolff, New York, 20 February 1968.
The John C. and Susan L. Huntington Collection, Columbus, Ohio.
出版
John C. Huntington and Dina Bangdel, The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, Columbus, 2003, pp. 313-316, no. 87.
Himalayan Art Resources, item no. 24779.
展览
On loan to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (L.68.4), 1968-1970.
Los Angeles Country Museum of Art and Columbus Museum of Art, The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, 5 October 2003- 9 May 2004, cat. 87.

荣誉呈献

Tristan Bruck
Tristan Bruck Specialist, Head of Sale

拍品专文

One of the finest examples of Tibetan painting from the fifteenth or sixteenth century, the present painting of a Shat Chakravarti mandala provides a stunning visual introduction to the artistic and spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. The mandala embodies the yogic practices from the Chakrasamvara tantric cycle and illustrates a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional celestial palace of the “Six Universal Monarchs.” The Chakrasamvara tantric cycle or the “Wheel of Bliss” is the principal highest yoga tantra of the wisdom classification in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. There are more than fifty different traditions of the cycle, and the various forms emphasize different types of meditation practice that are suited for practitioners of different needs and capacities. In this tantric cycle, each of the six mandalas is identified with the first six grounds or stages (bhumi) of the Bodhisattva path.
The large mandala that frames the entire composition contains four elaborate gateways surrounded by a ring of lotuses and a wall of fire. Inside this mandala, the central deity, Vajrasattva, also known as Jnanadaka in the Chakrasamvara cycle, sits within his own smaller mandala. Directly below the Vajrasattva mandala is the abode of Vairochana. In the clockwise direction are the mandalas of Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Akshobhya, and lastly Amoghasiddhi, the deities within each embracing their female aspects signifying penetrating wisdom, or prajna. In the top register are sixteen deities that emphasize the generation stage of the tantra, preparation for the completion-stage meditations on Vajravarahi. The bottom register contains sixteen performance goddesses, specifically wisdom vajra-dakinis. Supporting the mandala in the four outer corners are the principal forms of Vajravarahi, a central deity to the transformative process of completion-stage yoga.
While the composition of the mandala adheres precisely to the requirements of the Chakrasamvara tantra, the artist visibly delighted in its embellishment and ornamentation with highly varied motifs of ornate floral scrollwork, emphasized by the juxtaposition of contrasting color fields of primary colors for each section of scrolling. Stylistically, this painting exemplifies the late Newari style supported by the Sakya sect throughout the Tsang Valley. The exceptional finesse of the Newari painters of the Kathmandu Valley was so renowned that many were invited to Tibet, especially to Ngor Monastery in the early fifteenth century. They worked for patrons in Tibet and trained locals in aesthetics and painting.
The vibrant colors with the predominant red background, along with the shaded floral ornamentation creates a sense of perspective and volume for the architectural plan of the mandala. The scrolling is carried to the very edges of the thangka, beyond the borders of the celestial palace. The overall effect is a kaleidoscope of brilliant color. Although there are no datable inscriptions extant on the thangka, the painting can be compared with an iconographically-identical and stylistically-similar piece in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (acc. no. 1963-154-1). Furthermore, a visual analysis of the color, architectural and ornamental motifs of a Guhyasamaja-Manjuvajra Mandala in the collection of Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (acc. no. EA2007.246), reveals that the two works were likely created within the same atelier or region. These two works correspond to Sakya lineage paintings produced in Tibet for Ngor Monastery between 1429-56.

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