Lot 270. A gilt-bronze figure of Ushnishavijaya, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Height 13 2/5 in., 34 cm. Estimate: 8,000 — 12,000 USD. Sold Price: 81,250 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's
the goddess seated in dhyanasana, the eight arms in extended positions and once bearing attributes, each of the three faces with painted eyes and centered by a third eye beneath a double top-knot ushnisha encircled by a pointed diadem, the thick tresses falling about the shoulders and the body richly adorned, wearing a dhoti gathering in thick folds about the calves, supported by a double-lotus base with broad, radiating petals, the base sealed and inscribed with a stylized double-vajra (3).
Provenance: Collection of Midwestern military family, acquired in Asia in the 1920s.
Note: The Qianlong emperor embraced Tibetan Buddhism, and during his reign temples for esoteric practice proliferated, as well as statues to worship deities of the tradition. Ushnishavijaya (Chinese: Zun Sheng Fo Mu) was worshiped in the Ming and Qing dynasties as part of a trio of longevity deities. The Qianlong emperor erected the Xumifushou Temple, a replica of the Tibetan monastery Tashilhunpo, in celebration of his seventieth birthday in 1780, and dedicated the entire second floor to this goddess. Compare a figure of Ushnishavijaya, much smaller in scale but with similar modeling, offered in our Paris rooms, 15th December 2016, lot 115.