Lot 105. An important and exceptionally fine painting of Vaishravana, Tibet, 18th century. Estimate $550,000 – $750,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2016

Finely detailed with the radiant deity seated atop a lion, holding a banner in his right hand and a jewel-spewing mongoose in his left, adorned in lavish garments, billowing ribbons and gold jewels, his wide-open eyes and semi-wrathful expression topped with an elaborate crown and backed by a radiant aurole, surrounded by his retinue of eight horsemen with wrathful Vajrapani at top center and flanked by four historical figures, all set against a dark background with swirling clouds, cascading water and blossoming foliage - 33 1/8 x 22 3/8 in. (84 x 57 cm.)

Provenance: The Van Der Wee Collection, Belgium, acquired in The Hague, 1 November 1969

LiteratureA. Neven, Etudes d’art Lamaique et de L’Himalaya, 1978, p.33, fig.16 
L. De Becker, Tibetaans Boeddhistische Kunst, 1982, cat.33
L. and P. Van der Wee, A Tale of Thangkas: Living with a Collection, 1995, pp.108-110, fig.53
Himalayan Art Resources (himalayanart.org), item no.100642

ExhibitedTibetaans Boeddhistische Kunst, University of Leuven, Belgium, 25 October – 13 November 1982 
De Taal van de Thangka, Ethnographic Museum, Antwerp, 1995

Notes: This exceptional painting belongs to a set of seven Gelug protector deity paintings, mentioned in the writings on the 18th century Tibetan scholar, Purbu Chog. Only two other paintings from the set are currently known. One, an extraordinary depiction of Magzor Gyalmo, is in the collection of the Rubin Museum of art (P1995.5.1). The other, which depicts Begtse Chen, resides in the Museum der Kulturen, Basel (HAR item no. 3314495). Renowned scholars Jeff Watt and Rob Linrothe discuss this important group of paintings as belonging "to a set of seven paintings produced for the persons at the highest reaches of the monastic culture centered on Lhasa in the second half of the seventieth and the first half of the eighteenth century" (R. Linrothe & J. Watt, Demonic Divine: Himalayan Art and Beyond, 2004, p.168).