. Both are
Lot 243, "A
Highly Important Thangka Depicting Vajrabhairava," Tibet, dated by
The stunning thangka
illustrated above is Lot 243, "A Highly Important Thangka Depicting
Vajrabhairava," the main deity of the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism,
who is dark blue in color, has nine heads, thirty four arms and sixteen
legs. An inscription on the reverse of the painting indicates that it
was commissioned and blessed at the Great monastic college of
Danyakatakuri, which is within the monastery of Gonglun Jampa Ling in
Amdo, Eastern Tibet. It was created in the 18th century.
Lot 268, "An
Exceptional and Highly Important black stone Vaishnavite Stele," India,
Rajasthan, 11th/12th century.
Lot 243 has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $275,000.
Standing 38 1/2
inches high, Lot 268, "An Exceptional and Highly Important black stone
Vaishnavite Stele" was carved in Rajasthan, India, in the 11th to 12th
century. Exquisitely conceived, it features Lord Vishnu, surrounded by
his ten avatars - incarnations
- or manifestations of himself in mortal form on earth. While a new
generation think of avatars
as protogonists of the blockbuster movie of the same name with blue
people flying around luscious digital forests, the original meaning of
the word is ancient, first referenced in one of the oldest religious
texts in human history, which relates to this magnificent portrayal of
the Hindu deity Vishnu:
righteousness wanes and unrighteousness increases, I bring myself forth"
"For the protection of the good, for destruction of evil,
and for the establishment of righteousness, I come into being from age
(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, verse 8)
The avatarsin this
amazing creation include a fish, tortoise, boar, lion-man, and dwarf.
Lot 268 has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $581,000.
Lot 289, "A
Rare and Highly Important Copper Alloy Figure of a 'Demon," India,
possibly Karnataka, circa 17th century, from the Leo Figiel M.D.
The two folk art
bronzes featured here are personal favourites, because they are the
real deal in a sea of garish contemporary imitations that proliferate
across India today - beloved, one must add, by those that could never
afford such a magnificent piece like "Demon Bronze," who love
the unpretentiousness of Folk Art. Every airport shop or tourist trap
has newly minted versions of Folk Art bronzes, but nothing can dim the
glory of a piece as original as Lot 289, "A Rare and Highly Important
Copper Alloy Figure of a 'Demon,'" possibly from Karnataka, circa 17th
century, or Lot 283, "A Copper Alloy Figure of Garuda," from Himachal
Pradesh, circa 16th to 17th century. The "Demon Bronze" is only 13 1/2
inches high but appears much larger and is described in Sotheby's
catalogue for this sale as the most well known, widely published and
frequently exhibited Indian folk bronze in the world. It was featured
in two of the first groundbreaking exhibitions on Indian art in the
United States: Unknown
India: ritual Art in Tribe and Village at The
Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1968, curated by the late Dr. Stella
Kamrisch and INDIA!at
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1985, curated by the late Stuart Clay
Welch. "Demon Bronze" is one of several beautiful Folk Art bronzes
offered at this sale from the Leo Figiel. M.D. Collection.
Lot 283, "A
Copper Alloy Figure of Garuda," India, Himachal Pradesh or Chamba,
Lot 289, "Demon Bronze," has an estimate of
$60,000 to$90,000. It
sold for $75,000.
Lot 283, "A Copper Alloy Figure of Garuda," is 21 inches high and
depicts a praying winged figure, kneeling with a cobra in front of him.
Garuda means "eagle" in Sanskrit, a mythical bird referenced
in Hindu and Buddhist mythology that feeds on serpents - or, more
literally, vanquishes evil. It was exhibited at The Sensuous Immortals,
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, October 25, 1977 -
January 15, 1978; Seattle Art Museum, March 9- April 23, 1978; Denver
Art Museum, May 26-July 30, 1978; William Rockhill Nelson Gallery,
Kansas City, September 15- October 29, 1978, and is included in the
catalogue accompanying the exhibition, The Sensuous Immortals.
It is also referenced in "Bronzes of Kashmir, by P. Pal (Graz, 1975,
p.233. cat. no. 92)
Lot 283 has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $56,250.
Left: Lot 275, "A Red
Sandstone Figure of Ganga," Central India, 11th to 12th century;
Center: Lot 334," Picchvai of Shrinathji Being Worshipped at
Sharadpurnima," India, Nathdwara, circa 1880
275, "A Red Sandstone Figure of Ganga,"a beautiful river goddess carved
in Central India in the 11th to 12th century is shown above with two
black stone carvings from the Pala period (12th century), and Lot 334,
"Picchavai of Shrinathji Being Worshipped at Sharadpurnima," from
India. The origin of the river goddess is described in Sotheby's
catalogue for this sale:
pesonification of the river gods and goddesses can be traced to
prehistoric time, both in surviving texts and material culture. The
river Ganga holds a special venerated status among Hindus, as the
location of several sacred sites. The Ganga is associated with both
purification and death. Believers immerse themselves in the holy water
to wash away their sins and liberate themselves from the cycle of life
and death. Human ashes are also immersed in the river for the same
reason. Over time different Hindu traditions and texts assimilated the
river into their belief system by appropriating it in the form of a
Goddess whose legends are extant in Hindu mythology."
Lot 275, "A Red Sandstone Figure of Ganga" has an estimate of $8,000 to
$12,000. It sold for
$32,500, well above its high estimate.
Lot 334, "Picchvai of Shrinathji Being Worshipped at Sharadpurnima" has
an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.
It sold for $10,000.
323, Maharaja Ram Singh With Courtiers," India, Kotah, circa 1830
Lot 213, "An
Illustration to The Bhagavad Purana: Krishna and Balarama Battle
Jarasandha," Nepal, circa 1750
Rajputs are famous for their valour, and there are many
paintings of them strutting their stuff on the battlefield. However,
the beautiful Indian miniature illustrated above
depicts the Rajput "Maharaja Ram Singh With
Courtiers" not in combat but in the comfort and luxury of his palace,
seated on Persian rugs, under an ornate canopy. These gorgeous
decorative accoutrements are accompanied by a superbly crafted sword,
within easy reach of rulers that were constantly threatened by invaders
and usurpers to the throne, usually their own family members.
Beautifully executed in opaque watercolor heightened with gold on
paper, Lot 323 depicts the Maharaja aged thirty. Sotheby's catalogue
for this sale references a sepia-toned photograph of him by the
photographers Johnston and Hoffman, circa 1887, in the collection of
the British Library, when he was much older, with sword and shield,
seated against an oversized bolster, with a waistband styled like the
one in this miniature: "Maharao Maharaja Ram Singh (b.1811-1889) was
according to James Tod in his Annals
and Antiquities of Rajasthan 'the most conservative
prince in conservative Rajputana and a grand specimen of a true Rajput
gentleman' (see Vol.3 P.1520 note 2). He was a member of the Hara
family of the great Chauhan Rajput clan who inhabited the region around
Bundi for centuries and upon whose rulers Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I
conferred the honorific title 'maharao' for great service to the Mughal
Empire." (Sotheby's catalogue for this sale).
Lot 323, "Maharajah Ram Singh With Courtiers" has an estimate of
$20,000 to $30,000. It
sold for $37,500.
bloodshed caused by war is depicted in Lot 213, "An Illustration to The
Bhagavad Purana: Krishna and Balarama Battle Jarasandha," a
Nepalese miniature painting, illustrated above. Lot 213 has an estimate
of $8,000 to $10,000. It
sold for $8,750.
Lot 299, "A
Jain Cosmic Diagram of Adhaidvipa," India, gujarat or Rajasthan, 17th
to 18th century
Lot 299, "A Jain Cosmic Diagram of Adhaidvipa," created in
Gujarat or Rajasthan in the 17th to 18th century is painted on cloth,
and has an estimate of $8,000 to $10,000. It sold for $10,000.
Lot 307, "A Yogini At Her
Herimtage Being Visited By Devotees," India, Kishangarh, circa 1720-40
Lot 307, "A
Yogini At Her Hermitage Being Visited by Devotees," India, Kishangarh,"
is a beautiful work of art rendered in opaque watercolour heightened
with gold on paper that references India's legendary spiritualism and
mysticism - and nature in all its magnificence. The yogini is clothed
in the saffron robes of the holy men and women of India,and
is being offered various tributes by her devotees. Although yoginis are
referenced in texts, they are not often depicted in paintings:
"Her attire and ornaments suggest a noble descent. She is
shown leaning on a plank tied to the tree - implying a vow to stand on
her feet for a long period of time, a known yogic feat, She is giving
audience to a varied group of devotees. Under the tree and close to her
are seated two other ascetics. Her hermitage is located on the river
bank. The marbled courtyard where she stands is surrounded by pits with
smoldering embers of coal..." (Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)
Lot 307 has an
estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It
sold for $27,500.
Lot 204, "A
Gilt Copper Figure of Durga Mahishasuramardini," Nepal, circa 13th