The Central Tibetan gilt-copper base and aureol are extremely interesting as they combine a pure Nepalese influenced craftmanship with a Tibetan iconography. The Nepalese idiom is traceable in for instance the makaras on the horizontal beams with their bodies terminating into scrolling foliate, as well as the turned up, pointed tips of the upper horizontal beam of the base under discussion. These elements occur in the Nepalese art of the 13th to 15th centuries and were brought by Nepalese artists to Tibet. This so-called Indo-Nepalese style was popular in the southern and central areas of Tibet from the late 13th to 17th centuries.
The depicted deities at the base however, belong to the Tibetan iconographic world. Especially the four lokapalas, the two forms of Mahakala and Sri Devi are uncommon in Nepalese art. Most intruiging are the garments of the four lokapalas which are of pure Tibetan origin. This phenomenon is only to be found in pre-16th century Tibetan art. Hereafter the garments of the lokapalas become completely sinicized. For another 13th to 14th century example, see lot 82 of this present catalogue.
Therefore it is possible to date the base to the 15th century and more probably to the first half of it. This is emphasized by the fact that the deities are depicted against separate shaped aureols, which are not touching each other, common until the 15th century. Even the border of lotus-petals at mid-level of the base is reminiscent to an early 15th century style. This picture is completed by the high craftmanship of the repousse base.
The aureol is probably slightly later and can be dated to late 15th or even the first half of the 16th century, based on comparable material and a slightly more crude craftmanship.
See colour illustration