Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A RARE BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI
A RARE BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI
A RARE BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI
1 More
A RARE BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI
4 More
PROPERTY OF THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, SOLD TO BENEFIT FUTURE ACQUISITIONS
A RARE BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI

NORTHEASTERN INDIA, PALA PERIOD, 11TH-12TH CENTURY

Details
A RARE BRONZE FIGURE OF PADMAPANI
NORTHEASTERN INDIA, PALA PERIOD, 11TH-12TH CENTURY
4 ¾ in. (12.1 cm.) high
Provenance
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, New York, before 1968.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, accessioned in 1968 (acc. no. 68.8.39).
Literature
Himalayan Art Resources, item no. 24663.

Brought to you by

Tristan Bruck
Tristan Bruck Specialist, Head of Sale

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Powerfully cast despite its small size, Padmapani Lokeshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, is seated in a languid lalitasana pose. His benevolent gaze and slight grin both veer leftward, an assured expression surmounted by an elaborate topknot of dreadlocks (jatas). A long lotus stem wraps around his left wrist, while the other lotus stalk grows from the base. Two bands of wonderfully flared petals build the signature Pala-style double lotus base, framed by heavy beaded rims.
This refined and well-provenanced bronze is product of the important Pala dynasty that flourished in eastern India from the eighth to the twelfth century — one of the last strongholds of Buddhism in India, as the subcontinent became increasingly Hindu by the eleventh century. The period saw a surge in travel in the region among Buddhist practitioners and laypeople to sacred sites associated with Buddha Shakyamuni. With this came the expanded propagation of Buddhist texts and religious icons, particularly bronze sculpture, which were easily transported by pilgrims. As a result, Pala bronze work achieved an exceptional level of sophistication and to this day, is revered as one of the golden eras of the Indian sculptural tradition.
The Pala style traveled from India to Nepal, China and Tibet, and served as an important foundation for sculptural and painting traditions in subsequent centuries. The double-lotus base over the stepped plinth is, for instance, a widely-used style created during this period and emulated widely for many centuries thereafter. The lasting influence is clear as even much later Tibetan workshops continued to emulate Pala styles; for example, see a seventeenth-to-eighteenth century Tibetan bronze figure of Padmapani sold at Christie’s New York 20 March 2019, lot 616 (Himalayan Art Resources, item no. 24470), demonstrating clear Pala influences through the figure’s languid pose, double lotus base, and heavy lotus stalks flanking either shoulder, hallmarks of the Pala style. Also compare the present lot to a contemporaneous figure of Manjushri, also formerly in the Nasli and Alice Heeramenack Collection, published by U. von Schroeder in Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 2008, p. 282, no. 69B. Both works demonstrate the Pala artists' masterful casting of languorous poses and similar stylistic elements such as the flared petals, beaded rims, and fashioning of the lotus stalks.

More from Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Works of Art

View All
View All