The school of Zanabazar was founded by the Mongolian lama, Zanabazar (1635-1723) who was revered not only as a religious leader, but also as an artist and master craftsman. Working with Nepalese artists in Mongolia, Zanabazar developed a sculptural style characterized by technical precision, richly gilt surfaces overall, balanced proportions, smoothly sloping contours that emphasize the corporal power, and restrained embellishments. Zanabazar school works are highly prized by art historians and collectors.
The present figure exhibits all the qualities of the finest Zanabazar sculpture. The perfectly balanced proportions of the body and jewel-like quality of the face, along with the sensitively rendered hands, give the figure a powerful elegance. The beautifully modeled base with its rounded lotus petals and delicate incising and beading, place this work as an exemplary example of Zanabazar craftsmanship. Of particular note is the gilt double-vajra seal on the bottom. This type of seal is found on most, if not all of the bronze sculpture that are considered Zananbazar's signature and attributed to the master himself. While often replicated on later copies of the Zananbazar school, the seal on the present work is identical to the original examples. This feature, along with the extremely skilled modeling and richly gilt surface, shows the present work to be nearly identical in style and quality to the original group of Zanabazar bronzes. For a comparable bronze see the Shakyamuni Buddha in the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts (HAR item no.50340). For further comparison, see a Zanabazar school gilt bronze figure of a Buddha which sold in these rooms on March 19, 2013 (sale 2687, lot 219).