RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE DE BOUDDHA EN CUIVRE DORÉ
RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE DE BOUDDHA EN CUIVRE DORÉ
RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE DE BOUDDHA EN CUIVRE DORÉ
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RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE DE BOUDDHA EN CUIVRE DORÉ
15 More
Property from a Belgian private collection
RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE DE BOUDDHA EN CUIVRE DORÉ

NÉPAL, DÉBUT DE L'ÉPOQUE MALLA, XIIIÈME-XIVÈME SIÈCLE

Details
RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE DE BOUDDHA EN CUIVRE DORÉ
NÉPAL, DÉBUT DE L'ÉPOQUE MALLA, XIIIÈME-XIVÈME SIÈCLE
Hauteur : 31,2 cm. (12 ¼ in.)
Provenance
With Navin Kumar, Inc. New York, 25 September 1986.
Further details
A RARE AND IMPORTANT GILT-COPPER FIGURE OF BUDDHA
NEPAL, EARLY MALLA PERIOD, 13TH-14TH CENTURY

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Lot Essay

The present figure is a paragon of Newari gilt-copper imagery, dated to the earliest years of the Malla period, widely considered the high point of Nepalese art. The Newaris, the traditional inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley, were the master metal casters of the period, and their services were patronized far and wide, including at the imperial workshops of the Yuan dynasty in Beijing. According to the characteristic tradition of Nepalese artists, the present image was gilt through a technique called fire-gilding. In this process, the artist mixes gold powder with mercury to form a paste, which is applied and fused to the metal surface under the influence of heat. Such a technique, while dangerous, results in the rich, shimmering gilding visible on the present sculpture. The metal surface below the gilding has an extraordinarily high copper content, another characteristic of Newari metal images, which lends it a soft, warmish brown patina.
The sculpture of the early Malla period, starting from the second half of the twelfth century through the fifteenth century, is characterized by pronounced musculature and elaborate ornamentation. Aesthetically, examples made during the early Malla period are among the most refined, with elegant, graceful bodies, delicate hands and fine facial features. The present work is a masterful representation of the fully-developed early Malla style. The figure is modelled with broad, well postured shoulders and a narrow attenuated waist. The diaphanous robe is incised with floral motifs and beading along continuous hems. The downcast face is centered by a small, bow-shaped mouth and aquiline nose below heavy-lidded eyes and sharply arched brows. The forehead is distinguished by the prominent urna, which is represented as an inlaid teardrop.
Early Malla works are rare amongst the wider compendium of Nepalese art history, including very few images of seated Shakyamuni such as the present example. A slightly smaller gilt-copper figure of Crowned Buddha, dated to the fourteenth-century, was sold at Christie’s New York, 19 March 2014, lot 1010, for $509,000. More recently, a similarly-sized but considerably-worn early Malla-period figure of Buddha Shakyamuni, formerly in the collection of Sam and Myrna Myers, was sold at Sotheby’s London on 4 November 2021, lot 332.

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