Lot 3625. An Imperial silk kesi of a dakini, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng- Qianlong period (1723-1795); 74.1 by 58.5 cm, 29 1/8 by 23 in. Estimate 600,000 — 800,000 HKD. Lot sold 750,000 HKD. © Sotheby's
intricately woven in multi-coloured silk and gold against a white satin ground, depicting a dakini dancing on a lotus base, set against a flaming mandorla, wreathed by scrolling foliage.
The decorative style, with the distinct colour scheme, generous spacing and Central Asia-style motifs, derives from those of the Tanguts, the successors to the Uighurs in Central Asia in the eleventh century, who acted as a conduit between China and Tibet. An example of this prototype in style is the large silk kesi banner of Green Tara, found at Kharakhoto and now in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, illustrated by Valerie Reynolds, ‘Luxury Textiles in Tibet’, in Jane Casey Singer & Philip Denwood, eds., Tibetan Art: Towards a Definition of Style, London, 1997, p. 124, pl. 111.
The figure depicted is a female wisdom dakini. For a thangka depicting the wisdom dakini as an emanation of the White Yogini from the lineage of Machik Labdon (1055-1153), the great female mystic from the Lab region of Tibet, see Jeff Watt and Tenzin Dharlo, Female Buddhas, Women of Enlightenment in Himalayan Art, New York, 2005, p.158. The iconography, posture and rendition of the features on the thangka matches closely that on the current kesi.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Works of Art, Hong Kong, 07 april 2015