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Superb Gilt Bronze Repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva Tibet 15th Century


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Collection No. TA-32
Size Height 16cm without stand
Superb Gilt Bronze Repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva Tibet 15th Century
Superb Gilt Bronze Repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva Tibet 15th Century
Superb Gilt Bronze Repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva Tibet 15th Century
Superb Gilt Bronze Repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva Tibet 15th Century
Superb Gilt Bronze Repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva Tibet 15th Century
Superb Gilt Bronze Repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva Tibet 15th Century

This superb gilt-bronze repousse of a Buddhist Bodhisattva from Tibet dating from the 15th century or earlier.

David Templeman  writes;

” This image possibly represents the bodhisattva Padmapani (‘He Who Holds the Lotus’), a form of Avalokitesvara. Like that deity, Padmapani represents compassion, as may be seen in his benignly gentle smile. He stands in the Indian dance form known as the tribhanga or ‘triple flexion’. In the more usual forms, he holds a lotus stem in each hand and the lotuses are seen at his shoulder level. In this case, they either were part of the surrounding foliage in the larger repoussé piece or were broken off. The mode of his clothing drapery and facial style all point to the work of Newari artisans from Kathmandu working in Tibet, and his high armlets and the style of the pearl-bordered single lotus base both point to an early date.

Himalayan Art Resources describes the Bodhisattva ;

”  The word bodhisattva from the Sanskrit language is a Buddhist technical term relating to motivation, qualification, and level of spiritual attainment. It is a primary term found in the Mahayana Sutras as practised in Northern Buddhism (North India, Himalayas, Central Asia and East Asia) and its meaning is included in the definition of Mahayana Buddhism distinguishing it from other forms of Buddhism such as Theravada of South Asia.

From the point of view of Himalayan style art bodhisattva is a term used to describe a peaceful god-like appearance based on the deities of classical Indian literature and the classic Hindu pantheon. As described in the literature of the Buddhist Sutras and Tantras, male and female figures are portrayed as beautiful, wearing silks and jewels, playful and relaxed in posture and depicted in the bloom of youth, sixteen years of age. Gender is often difficult to distinguish. Examples of these subjects are Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya for the males and Tara and Sarasvati for the females. Bodhisattva appearance, peaceful appearance, and god-like appearance are all synonymous and generally applied to subjects that are peaceful, non-historical human, non-wrathful, and non-buddha-like in appearance. Bodhisattva appearance is more commonly known as Peaceful Appearance and is one of the Eleven Figurative Appearances in Himalayan and Tibetan art.

As a religious term bodhisattva means a heroic aspirant to enlightenment. An individual becomes a bodhisattva by taking up the enlightenment thought (bodhichitta) through one of two standard rituals, sometimes called an ordination, following either of the paramount philosophical schools of Yogachara or Madhyamaka. A bodhisattva is a practitioner of the enlightenment thought which is the aspiration to achieve complete enlightenment as a perfect Buddha for the benefit of oneself and all other sentient beings in the universe. ”

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Buddhist Art

Published and Exhibited: “The Art of Compassion ”  2018 by David Templeman  Published page 16

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