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This superb bowl of solid silver most probably was made in China either with Tibetan influence or was made as an export piece for the Himalayan market.
It is remarkably deeply chased in high relief with Himalayan and Sino-Himalayan motifs against a background that has been lightly tooled and then finely gilded (gold-plated). The gilding provides an unusual and beautiful contrast between the silver in high relief, and the gold of the background.
The bowl is chased with a splendid Garuda figure which, in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition protects against diseases and poisoning (Igunma & May, 2019, p. 180). It is also one of the four dignities associated with the ‘wind horse’. The others are the dragon, the snow lion and the tiger – each of which is also shown on this bowl, separated by extravagantly-rendered flowers, buds, seed pods and foliage.
The base of the bowl is finely engraved in Tibetan lantsa script with the syllables ‘Om Ah Hung’. These are the three ‘seed’ mantras.
The bowl has tapering sides and sits on a low ring foot. It is heavy in the hand, given its size. It is in excellent condition.
Igunma, J., & S.S. May (eds.), Buddhism: Origins, Traditions and Contemporary Life, British Library, 2019.