A gilt-bronze figure of a lama, China, 17th-18th century

Lot 984. A gilt-bronze figure of a lama, China, 17th-18th century; 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm.) high. Estimate USD 15,000 - USD 25,000Price realised USD 18,750. © Christie's Images Ltd 2018. 

Seated on a double cushion incised with large foliate medallions and a diaper pattern, the right hand raised in vitarkamudra and the left held in the lap, dressed in heavy robes with foliate-patterned hems, with a lotus blossom at each shoulder, one supporting a book, the face with jovial expression below close-cropped hair, softwood stand.

ProvenanceMrs. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, New York, acquired in China, 1921.
Estate of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1948.

NoteDuring the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, who was himself a fervent Buddhist devotee, the production of Buddhist images, paintings, and ritual items, drastically increased to fill the large numbers of temples and religious halls built during this period. In some temples, such as the Fanhua Lou at the Forbidden City, the entirety of the Buddhist pantheon, numbering in the several hundreds of deities and important personages, were depicted sculpturally in gilt-bronze, as illustrated by Yu Zhuoyun in Palaces of the Forbidden City, Hong Kong, 1982, pp. 180-181, figs. 200 and 201. Although the present work does not bear an identifying inscription, it is highly likely the figure depicts an important disciple or teacher from the lineage of the Gelugpa sect, which was the dominant strain of Tibetan Buddhism in China at this time.

Christie's. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: Travel and Americana, New York, 10 May 2018 - SALE 16723