A GILT BRONZE FIGURE OF YAMANTAKA-VAJRABHAIRAVA, MARK AND PERIOD OF YONGLE, 1403-1424
HKD 50,000,000 - 70,000,000
USD 6,410,257 - 8,974,359
Vajrabhairava Yamantaka, the conqueror of the Lord of Death, was exceptionally well cast with delicate details and features. Standing on the decumbent deities and animals in pratyalidhasana, the deity with nine heads in total, the central being that of a bull with bulging eyes, growling mouth and flared nostrils, its horns reaching up on either side of two heads, respectively the head of Yamantaka in peaceful appearance, and the head of Manjusri on top, both were encased in his red flaming hair. There are seventeen pairs of arms holding various attributes, the primary pairs in the middle of façade holding kapala bowls and curved knife. Eight pairs of legs tiers on either sides, wearing dharmapala garments and ornaments, including garlands of severed human heads. The vajrabhairava standing on an oval double lotus pedestal, with "Da Ming Yongle Nian Shi" inscribed, the base engraved with crossed vajra.
There is no existing gilt bronze o f freestanding Vajrabhairava with Yongle mark recorded. A Mandala sculpture of this deity shows the splendid craftsmanship of Yongle period through the meticulous structure, inscribed with the six-character Yongle Mark, now in the Potala Palace, Lhasa, the central statue of Vajrabhairava in the lotus bud with similar style, see von Schroeder, 2001, p.1264-5, pl. 350. A kesi painting of Yamantaka exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum in 2005 shows the stylistic continuity with this lot, see James C.Y. Watt and Denise Patry Leidy, Defining Yongle: Imperial Art in Early Fifteen —Century China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005, p. 63, Pl. 23.
1. Christie’s London, 16th November 1977
2. The Speelman Collection, UK
3. Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 7th October 2006, Lot 812