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A Gilt Bronze Figure of Parnashavari
Christie’s and the consignors of lots 208-255 intend to donate a portion of their proceeds received from the sale of the lot to Himalayan Art Resources, a 501(c)(3) not-for profit charity. Please note that a buyers who purchase these lots will not be eligible for any charitable contribution deduction in relation to such purchase.
A Gilt Bronze Figure of Parnashavari


A Gilt Bronze Figure of Parnashavari
Tibet, 16th century
The Forest Goddess standing in alidhasana, her six arms radiating around her and holding various implements, including a vajra, and axe in her right hands, a lasso in front of her chest, a stalk of fresh leaves and a bow in her left hands, wearing a ankle-length jeweled dhoti, fastened with a jeweled belt, clad in a tight fitting blouse of leaves and abundantly adorned with jewelry, her three faces smiling and topped by an elaborate jeweled tiara, her hair in a high chignon surmounted by a vajra, richly gilt overall, inlaid with hardstones and traces of polychromy remaining, the verso with a sealed consecration chamber
11 ¼ in. (28.5 cm.) high
Zimmerman Family Collection, New York, by 1981
Private collection, New Jersey
U. von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, 1981, p.432, cat.114c
Sale Room Notice
Please note this lot is published by Von Schroeder as “Collection NL,” likely a private collection in the Netherlands.

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Lot Essay

Parnashavari, also known as the "Forest Goddess," or the "Wild Leafy One," belongs to the Kriya class of tantra and is specifically invoked to fight disease and epidemics. Depicted with three smiling faces and six arms, she is adorned with leaves, symbolizing her connection to the world of nature, similar to a yakshi.
Compare with a slightly earlier gilt bronze figure of Parnashavari from the Collection of Ann and Gilbert H. Kinney, see O. Czaja and A. Proser, Golden Visions of Densatil: A Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, 2014, p.120, cat.no.24. As with the present figure, the Densatil goddess displays an expression and posture which is at once friendly while subtly suggesting an inner ferocity. In both examples, the goddess is depicted wearing her customary blouse of leaves and a jeweled skirt. Another example from the Capital Museum in Beijing (HAR item no.59828) depicts a slightly more rotund goddess, with the same distinctive dress and demeanor.

The rounded, sensual modeling, rich gilding and presence of turquoise embellishments of the present work suggest it may have been fashioned by Newar artists in Tibet. It is possible that, like the Densatil and Capital Museum works, the present figure could have links to Densatil Monastery and the surrounding region, which produced some of the finest and most prized bronze sculpture in Himalayan art history.

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