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A silver-plated bronze figure of Chitipati
A silver-plated bronze figure of Chitipati

TIBET, 19TH CENTURY

Details
A silver-plated bronze figure of Chitipati
Tibet, 19th century
The two skeletons seated with arms linked, one holding a basket with rolled prayer sheets
2 5/8 in. (6.6 cm.) high
Provenance
The James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, Chicago, acquired before 1997
Literature
Pratapaditya Pal, A Collecting Odyssey: Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 1997, p. 152 and 317, cat. no. 200
Exhibited
On loan to Art Institute of Chicago since 1997

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Lot Essay

Chitipati represent two Buddhist ascetics who were so deeply absorbed in meditation that they were unaware of their own death, and changed into wrathful death spirits with vows of eternal vengeance. Usually chitipati are shown as a male and female pair of skeletons intertwined in a frenzied dance. The present example is unusual in that they are calmly seated as if in conversation, perhaps a better representation of perfect awareness.

Primarily Chitipati is employed as a wealth practice, with emphasis as protection from thieves. Chitipati is special protector for the Vajra Yogini practice.
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