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AN IMPORTANT SILVER-AND-COPPER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF AKSHOBHYA
AN IMPORTANT SILVER-AND-COPPER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF AKSHOBHYA

WESTERN TIBET, 13TH CENTURY

Details
AN IMPORTANT SILVER-AND-COPPER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF AKSHOBHYA
WESTERN TIBET, 13TH CENTURY
Seated in vajrasana with his right hand lowered in bhumisparshamudra while the left is resting on his lap, clad in a sheer dhoti with beaded hems and adorned with beaded jewelry inset with copper and hardstones, his face with a serene expression with silver-inlaid downcast eyes below incised arched eyebrows centered by a raised urna, flanked by elongated earlobes with pierced circular earrings, and his drawn into a high chignon and secured with a foliate tiara, a pair of lotuses flowering at his shoulders, with cold gold and polychromy remaining
14 ¼ in. (36 cm.) high
Provenance
Acquired in London, June 1994

Brought to you by

Anita Mehta
Anita Mehta

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Lot Essay

This beautiful bronze figure of Akshobhya, which translates to "immovable" or "unshakable," perfectly captures his steadfast nature. As one of the most popular of the five transcendent Buddha’s venerated in Tibet, each of whom reign over one of the five directions, Akshobhya is the Buddha who resides in the east. Following the destruction of the Buddhist institutions in Northeastern India at the end of the twelfth-century, artisans from the area fled north to Tibet and Nepal. It is likely the present bronze is the work of a Tibetan artisan emulating a Pala image. Rendered with exceptional elegance, this sculpture perfectly captures the Tibetan interpretation of a Pala aesthetic. Every aspect of the body, from the fleshy toes and elongated fingers, to the broad shoulders which give way to a softly tapered waist, conveys a sense of energized balance. The gentle smile and steady gaze conveys the deity’s powerful grace.

The presence of silver and copper inlay is notable and suggests this work was an important commission. For a comparable example with similarly elegant modeling of the body adorned in copper-inlaid jewelry, as well as a serene facial expression with elongated silver-inlaid eyes, see a bronze figure of Akshobhya from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection (M. Rhie & R. Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, 1991, p. 345, cat. no. 138).

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