RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE D’UNE DAKINI EN BRONZE INCRUSTE D'ARGENT ET DE CUIVRE
PROPERTY OF A FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTOR
RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE D’UNE DAKINI EN BRONZE INCRUSTE D'ARGENT ET DE CUIVRE

CHINE, DYNASTIE QING, XVIIIEME SIECLE

Details
RARE ET IMPORTANTE STATUE D’UNE DAKINI EN BRONZE INCRUSTE D'ARGENT ET DE CUIVRE
CHINE, DYNASTIE QING, XVIIIEME SIECLE
The dakini is shown in dancing posture with her left leg raised. Her four arms radiate around her body with her principle hands making the varada and tarjani gestures while both upper ones originally holding separate cast attributes. She is dressed in a dhoti finely incised with scrolling tendrils, bone apron with its strings swaying around and jewellery including a broad necklace incrusted with silver and copper beads. Her cold-gilded face displays a serene expression with downcast eyes below arched eyebrows. Her forehead is adorned with the third eye and her lips show a faint smile. Her blue coloured hair is in a chignon topped with a lotus flower and issuing swaying pearled strings terminating in minute flower-heads all around.
35½ in. (90 cm.), bronze stand
Provenance
Collection Guy Kaufmann, thence by descent to the present owner
Literature
N. Bazin, Rituels tibetains: Visions secrètes du Ve Dalai Lama, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris 2002, no. 30
Exhibited
Rituels tibetains: Visions secrètes du Ve Dalai Lama, Musée national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet, Paris, 5 November 2002 - 24 February 2003
Post lot text
AN IMPORTANT SILVER-AND-COPPER-INLAID BRONZE FIGURE OF A DAKINI
CHINA, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY

Brought to you by

Fiona Braslau
Fiona Braslau

Lot Essay

The dakini or 'sky walker' is a feminine initiator to spiritual liberation. In esoteric Tibetan Buddhism they play an important role and are often linked to important deities whom they assist in their spiritual practices. Alone, these young goddesses are mainly depicted in dancing posture. Although most dakinis are shown terrifying with wrathful expressions, the presented one has a graceful appearance, almost with a seductive radiance. Her elegant pose of elongated proportions and friendly facial expression enhance this aspect. Her peaceful aspect is emphasized by the blue coloured hair-dress instead of the more common red colour for horrifying examples. As her attributes are missing it is difficult to establish her iconographic identity. Nathalie Bazin suggested that the upper hands could have carried the drum and bell to accompany herself during dance performances. Both other hands display the granting-wishes (varada) and menacing (tarjani) gestures. Dakinis with four arms are rare in comparison to examples showing two arms, likewise its large size.
The style is based on twelfth to thirteenth century Pala examples from Northeast India. Its revival style became popular in the eighteenth century and many examples were made for followers of Tibetan Buddhism. The highest quality bronzes in the Pala revival style, like the presented dakini, were most likely cast in China, whether at foundries in Beijing or Chengde.

A comparable large four-armed dakini example is published by Hung Shih Chang and Jessica P.P. Hsu (eds.) in 'Buddhist Art from Rehol: Tibetan Buddhist images and ritual objects from the Qing dynasty Summer Palace at Chengde' , Publishing Company Jeff Hsu's Oriental Art, Taipei 1999, no. 60. Another large four-armed dakini is illustrated by D. Ashencaen and G. Leonov in 'Light of Compassion: Buddhist Art from Nepal and Tibet', Spink & Son, London 1997, no. 21.

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