Lot 16. A schist head of a bodhisattva, Ancient region of Gandhara, 3rd-4th century; 25 cm (9 7/8 in.) high. Sold for HK$502,500. © Bonhams 2001-2021
The sculpture portrays a noble Buddhist bodhisattva with an air of quiet authority. His heavy-lidded eyes, aquiline nose, high cheekbones, and strong chin are finished with a fine polish. His broad, crisp moustache draws our gaze to the leonine earrings on either side. His wavy locks arranged into a tall bun like a blazing fire, secured by two beaded circlets. The larger circlet rests above his forehead, featuring two rosettes flanking a large baguette jewel. Compare with examples sold at Christie's, Amsterdam, 21 November 2001, lot 32 and Bonhams, New York, 19 March 2018, lot 3062.
Lot 16. A thangka of Dombi Heruka, Tibet, 18th-19th century, Distemper on cloth; verso with an inscribed Tibetan red ink 'om ah hum' invocation behind the central figure. Himalayan Art Resources item no.4485. Image: 73 x 51 cm (28 3/4 x 20 in.); With silks: 120.7 x 77 cm (47 1/2 x 30 1/4 in.). Sold for HK$121,125 . © Bonhams 2001-2021
It is very rare to have all eighty-four mahasiddhas depicted within a single composition, as in the present example. Occupying the center is Dombi Heruka sitting sideways atop a roaring tiger. He is a principal student of the legendary tantric master Virupa and one of the mahasiddhas. The remaining figures are cleverly arranged within a hilly landscape, separated by water, trees and rocks, forming a busy but orderly scene. See another painting of Dombi Heruka surrounded by ten mahasiddhas at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York (HAR 65203).
Lot 18. A thangka of Vajrabhairava, Qing dynasty, circa 18th century, Distemper on cloth; verso with an inscribed Tibetan red ink 'om ah hum' invocation behind the central figure. Himalayan Art Resources item no.4484. Image: 64.5 x 44 cm (25 3/8 x 17 3/8 in.); With silks: 105 x 60 cm (41 3/8 x 23 5/8 in.). Sold for HK$102,000. © Bonhams 2001-2021
The energetic composition depicts Vajrabhairava, one of the most popular tantric deities during the Qing dynasty. He is a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, and one of the principal meditational deities for all major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. While Vajrabhairava's nine heads can be arranged in several ways, here the "circular" format – with seven heads on the first row and the remaining two stacked above – follows an iconographic program commonly adopted by the Gelug school.
Vajrabhairava and his consort are surrounded by a retinue of twelve couples and Vajradhara at the top center of the composition. The flames and jewelry is a stylistically reminiscent of paintings done in the Yonghegong style, such as another Vajrabhairava thangka sold at Bonhams, New York, 19 March 2021, lot 371. Also see two examples published in Qi, Beautiful Thangka Paintings in Yonghegong, Beijing, 2001, pp.82 & 88.
Lot 9. A schist panel with Vajrapani and a pair of Buddha's disciples, Ancient region of Gandhara, 3rd-4th century; 24.7 x 17 cm (9 3/4 x 6 3/4 in.). Sold for HK$76,500. © Bonhams 2001-2021
This deftly carved panel shows two immediate disciples of Buddha joined above by Vajrapani holding his eponymous implement. Gaps in the panel's surface encrustation reveal a fine polish to each of their faces. There is a skillful naturalism to carving of their portraits, poses, and pleated garments. This arrangement of figures was likely part of a scene depicting Buddha's First Sermon (cf. Zwalf, Gandhara Sculpture, Vol. II, 1996, p. 150, no. 248 and Ingholt, Gandharan Art in Pakistan, New York, 1959, no.74).
Lot 10. A schist head of Buddha, Ancient region of Gandhara, 3rd-4th century; 13.5 cm (5 3/8 in.) high. Sold for HK$48,450. © Bonhams 2001-2021
The sculpture depicts Buddha with a confident and contemplative gaze. His youthful face has a nice polish. His wavy hair parts symmetrically from the forehead and forms meandering locks over the domed ushnisha. Compare two close examples in the British Museum published in Zwalf, Gandhara Sculpture, Vol. II, 1996, p. 33, nos. 40-1.
Bonhams. Buddhist Art Online including a Private Hong Kong Collection of Gandharan Sculpture, Hong Kong, 1 Aug - 10 Aug 2021