Gazette Drouot logo print
Lot n° 286


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A PAIR OF GILT-COPPER REPOUSSÉ PLAQUES DEPICTING BARDO DEITIES, TIBET, 18TH-19TH CENTURY Each modeled as a dancing figure with a lion head on a pot-bellied human body, dressed in a short dotted dhoti and a flayed human skin flung over the back, one deity with a jhanda (flag pole) and a dharma wheel to the chest, the other with one hand clutching the dharma wheel, their ferocious faces finely chased and incised with bulging eyes and bushy brows, the mouths agape revealing sharp fangs and scrolling tongues. (2) Provenance: A London-based gallery specializing in Tibetan works of art. A private collector, acquired from the above via the UK auction market. Condition: Good condition with minor wear and manufacturing flaws, little rubbing to gilt, few minute dents, tiny nicks. Remnants of pigment. Fine, dark patina with malachite encrustation to the interior. Weight: 487 g (together) Dimensions: Height 26 cm (each) The bardo is a realm or intermediate state between death and rebirth where one’s consciousness experiences vivid phenomena, including horrifying imagery related to negative karmic debts. For those with proper Buddhist training, this stage can provide great opportunity for liberation, allowing them to overcome illusion and worldly attachment. Animal-headed deities who inhabit the bardo realms are typically depicted in painting. Few sculptural examples are known, making the present plaques particularly rare. Literature comparison: Compare a related group of seven gilt bronze Bardo deities, with different animal heads, each dancing animatedly with flayed human skin to their backs, at Christie’s New York, 15 March 2017, lot 211. Auction result comparison: Type: Related Auction: Christie’s New York, 19 September 2019, lot 29 Price: USD 10,000 or approx . EUR 11,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing Description: A pair of gilt-bronze repoussé snow lion plaques, Tibet, 18th century Expert remark: Compare the related animated form and similar gilt and remnants of pigment. Note the size (37.5 cm).