Enquiry about object: 9088

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    Early Tibetan Gilded Lama Figure

    Central Tibet
    13th century

    height: 8.4cm, width: 6.8cm, depth: 3.7cm, weight: 213g



    private collection, London, UK

    This diminutive figure of an enlightened teacher and possibly a lama has been cast in bronze and gilded. The figure wears an unusual headdress that frames the head but which leaves the hair visible at the back. He wears the robes of a monk with the right shoulder bare, a thick fold across the chest, and a heavy sleeve over the left arm.

    The figure has a wide face, almost pursed lips and elongated ears. The top of the head has either a Buddha-like cranial protuberance or the finial of the headdress.

    The teacher sits cross legged with the left hand open and resting on the lap at an angle, and the right hand in the ‘earth-touching’ gesture. This gesture mirrors the Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment at Bodhgaya. When other historical figures are accorded this gesture it suggests that the person most probably has become a buddha or an enlightened on in his life.

    The image is heavy for its size. The base is open.


    Pal, P., Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2001.

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