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A RARE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF VAJRAPANI
A RARE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF VAJRAPANI
A RARE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF VAJRAPANI
A RARE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF VAJRAPANI
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THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN 
A RARE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF VAJRAPANI

XUANDE INCISED SIX-CHARACTER PRESENTATION MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1426-1435)

Details
A RARE GILT-BRONZE FIGURE OF VAJRAPANI
XUANDE INCISED SIX-CHARACTER PRESENTATION MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1426-1435)
The bodhisattva is finely cast seated in dhyanasana on a double lotus base, his right arm raised holding a vajra and the other in tarjani mudra, wearing a flowing dhoti tied at waist and swirling sash over the shoulders revealing the bare chest adorned with beaded jewellery chains. The face is cast with a serene expression with downcast eyes and smiling lips, framed by an elaborate diadem and large disk earrings. The front of the base is incised with six-character presentation mark, Da Ming Xuande nian shi, 'Bestowed in the Great Ming Xuande period.
10 1/4 in. (25.8 cm.) high
Provenance
Jacques Tindel and Monsier and Madame Alphonse Franck, Paris, acquired in the early 20th century, thence by descent within the family

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Lot Essay

During the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th and 14th centuries, the authority of Mongol rulers had become closely associated with Tibetan Buddhist or Lamaist rituals. At the beginning of the 15th century, the Buddhist fervour of the Ming court encouraged a cultural exchange between Tibet and China through Imperial patronage. Bronze sculptures in the Tibeto-Chinese style were first produced during the reign of Emperor Yongle (1403-1424) and are highly distinguished for their unsurpassed craftsmanship, overall refinement and gracefulness. Emperor Yongle (1403-25), a devout Buddhist himself, bestowed generous patronage to Buddhist monasteries and artistic ateliers, fostering the production of artworks depicting Lamaist Buddhist deities and imagery in a highly refined style, executed with the highest level of technical mastery. Gilt bronzes were commissioned from the Imperial workshops in Beijing for personal religious practices and as gifts for the many Tibetan emissaries invited to the court.

Relatively fewer examples bearing the reign mark of the following Xuande period exist. Compare to a closely related Xuande-marked example published by the Chang Foundation in Buddhist Images in Gilt Metal, Taipei, 1993, pp. 144-145, no. 65, and another example in the National Museum of China, Beijing, illustrated in Zhongguo gudai fo zaoxiang yishu, Beijing, 2011, pl. 116.

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