Fine Art Asia 2018

28 Sep – 02 Oct 2018
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  • Extraordinary sculptures, bronzes and paintings from China, India, Mongolia, Nepal and Tibet are amongst the works of art on offer at Rossi & Rossi’s Stand B2 at Fine Art Asia in Hong Kong, the continent’s leading annual fine art and antiques fair. Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the event runs from 28 September to 2 October 2018.

    Rossi & Rossi is also publishing a catalogue featuring a selection of thangkas on view at the fair. Written by leading Himalayan art scholar and curator Jeff Watt, the publication features fourteen works from Tibet and China, all dating to between the seventeenth and the nineteenth century.

    Highlights of the presentation include an exquisite fourteenth-century bronze sculpture of the abbot Dragpa Sherab(1310–1370)from Tibet. Seated in padmasanaon a double-lotus base with a beaded upper edge, he wears a monk’s patchwork robes, which are beautifully incised with intricate geometric and floral motifs. His right hand is held in vitarkamudra, the gesture of teaching, while his left hand grasps a miniature pecha, a wood-bound book, as a symbol of his enlightened wisdom and the transmission of knowledge. Dragpa Sherab served as the abbot of Densatil Monastery from 1362 until his death in 1370. He is identified by name in this portrait by a Sanskrit inscription on the lotus base. The bronze was likely part of a row of sculptures showing a lineage of teachers, as each master represents a link within an unbroken spiritual lineage that can be traced back to India. There is only one other known portrait of the abbot, a woodblock print dating to the first half of the fifteenth century, making this bronze an incredibly rare example of portraiture of an abbot from the famed Densatil Monastery.

    Also on offer is a finely cast early-fifteenth-century Tibetan gilt bronze sculpture of the bodhisattva Maitreya. The deity sits is depicted seated on an intricately cast lion throne in pralambapadasana (the so-called ‘European’ posture) with two legs pendant, his bare feet resting on a smaller lotus cushion. This poseture is linked to depictions of royalty from the Kushan period and was later adopted by Buddhists to emphasise the spiritual sovereignty of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni Buddha and the future Buddha Maitreya Buddha. His hands are raised to his chest in dharmacakra mudra, symbolising the turning of the Wheel of the Law, while he holds two lotus stems that rise to his shoulders and issue a water bottle and a stupa, the key attributes of Maitreya. The style of this sculpture – its elegant proportions, the smooth and skilful casting of the figure’s body and the treatment of the elaborate beaded jewellery – successfully demonstrates the excellent craftsmanship of the fifteenth century in Tibet.

    Rossi & Rossi is also presenting a fine collection of paintings from China and Tibet, amongst which is an eighteenth-century depiction of Vajrapanifrom China. Gold in colour, the deity is seated with hands shown in a relaxed gesture, in vague imitation of the dharmacakra mudra, while grasping the stems of two lotus flowers that blossom at his shoulder. He is identifiable by the presence of the vajra, his key attribute, which stands in the centre of the flower blossom to his right. He wears lavish jewellery and intricately patterned and multicoloured garments; a coloured halo and rainbow nimbus surround his body. Seated on a decorative throne platform, an elaborate torana(or throne back) ornamented with flowers and various mythical creatures extends to his sides and upwards, and is surmounted by an elaborate and decorative canopy. The style of the toranafollows a late Tibetan form popularised in the seventeenth century. At the top of the composition are clouds supporting heavenly musicians and offerings to the gods and goddesses. This intricate and beautifully coloured work once belonged to a set of nine paintings representing the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, along with a central figure of the Shakyamuni Buddha or the Amitabha Buddha. Delicately crafted and well preserved, the work is a fine example of the increasing popularity of Tibetan Buddhism within China during the eighteenth century.

    Other highlights include an eighteenth-century Tibetan black-ground thangka painting of Vajrabhairava, an animal-featured deity with a central buffalo head (nine faces in total), thirty-four arms and sixteen legs. He is the wrathful form of Manjushri and a principal meditational deity in all three of the main Sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug. Black-ground paintings emerged during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and were reserved for wrathful deities up until the nineteenth century, when the practice was expanded to include all forms of deities and historical figures. Here, Vajrabhairava is depicted with the consort Vajra Vetali, and the couple is surrounded by the main protectors of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism – Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelug School; Jampal Gyatso, the 8th Dalai Lama; Lobzang Yeshe, the 2nd (5th) Panchen Lama; and Gendun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama – indicating that the painting was made for the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Also from Tibet is a twelfth-century delicately painted wood Book Cover with Maitreya and the Past Buddhas. This early work shows the future Maitreya Buddha, in the guise of a bodhisattva, meditating in the centre. In his left hand, he holds a plant with a small elixir pot shown against the leaves, one of his distinctive attributes as a bodhisattva. Maitreya is surrounded by seven Buddhas and a monk, representing the Buddhas of the past, including the Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddhas all have yellow or gold complexions, while the monk has a pink complexion, and each figure is portrayed against an aureole of a green and black scroll with a red border adorned with a stylised flame motif. The style of the figures relates the cover to eleventh- and twelfth-century thangkas. This early dating is also supported by the work’s smaller size: Tibetan manuscripts evolved over time to become larger than their Indian and Nepalese counterparts due to the import of Chinese paper, which allowed for larger sizes than traditional palm-leaf manuscripts. Indeed, due to its small size, this book cover was likely made to contain a small palm-leaf manuscript from Nepal or India.

    • Mañjushrî

      Gilt bronze with silver inlay
      Tibet
      Ca.14th–15th century
      21.5 cm (8½ in)

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    • Maitreya

      Gilt bronze
      Tibet
      Early 15th century
      28.5 cm (9 in)

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    • Portrait of Dragpa Sherab (1310 - 1370)

      Gilt bronze
      Tibet
      Ca. 1370
      23 cm (9 in)

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    • Vajrabhairava

      Gilt copper
      Nepal
      Ca. 15th Century
      14.6 cm (5 ¾ in)

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    • Vajrasattva

      Gold figure with rubies, gilt silver base
      Central or Eastern Java
      Late 10th century - the first half of the 11th century
      15.4 cm (6 in)

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    • Vajrasattva

      Gold figure with rubies and emeralds, gilt silver base
      Central or Eastern Java
      Late 10th century - the first half of the 11th century
      16.2 cm (6¼ in) (with silver base: 36.5 cm (14¼ in))

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    • Vasudhara

      Gilt bronze
      Nepal
      14th century
      16.8 cm (6½ in)

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    • Shakyamuni Buddha

      Brass alloy with silver and copper inlay
      Tibet
      Ca. 13th century,
      22.9 cm (9 in)

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    • Vasudhara

      Gilt copper alloy
      Nepal
      15th century
      18.5 cm (7¼ in )

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    • Outer retinue deity from a Chakrasamvara mandala

      Gilt bronze
      Tibet
      14th century
      19.5 cm (7 ¾ in)

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    • Snow Lion

      Gilt copper
      Tibet
      15th century
      34 x 39 cm (13 ½ x 15 ½ in)

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    • The Sakya monk Jamyang Sonam Hlundrup

      Bronze with silver and red copper inlays
      Tibet
      15th century
      11 x 8 x 11 cm (4 ½ x 3 x 2 ¼ in)

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    • Seated monk holding a mala

      Bronze with silver and copper inlays
      Tibet
      14th century
      15.5 cm (6 ¼ in)

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    • Kunga Tashi

      Gilt bronze
      Tibet
      18th century
      12 cm (4 ¾ in)

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    • Vajradhara

      Bronze
      Tibet, Western Region
      11th century
      30.5 cm (12 ¼ in)

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    • Vishnu as Vaikuntha

      Brass
      India, Northern Region, Kashmir
      8th–9th century
      23 x 14 x 5.5 cm (9 x 5 ½ x 2 in)

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    • Arya Janguli ?

      Brass
      India, Northern region, Kashmir
      10th century
      22.5 x 14 x 6 cm (9 x 5 ½ x 2 ½ in)

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    • Arhat Nagasena

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      18TH century
      67.5 x 46 cm (26½ x 18 in)

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    • Vajrapani

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      18th century
      73.5 x 44 cm (29 x 17 ¼ in)

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    • Konchog Bang

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      18TH century
      72 x 48 cm ( 28 ¼ x 19 in)

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    • Arhat Bakula

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      18th century
      92 x 60 cm (36 x 24 in)

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    • Arhat Vanavasin

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      17th century
      101.5 x 59.5 cm (40 x 23½ in)

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    • Manjushri with attendant

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet, eastern region
      18th century
      74 x 43 cm (29 x 17 in)

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    • Red Tara

      Painting on cloth
      Tibet
      18th century
      39.6 x 27.3 cm (15 ½ x 10 ¾ in)

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    • Hevajra

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet, Central Region
      17th century
      98.6 x 72.8 cm (38 ¾ x 28 ¾ in)

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    • King Ralpachen

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      Late 17th century
      52 x 31 cm (20 x 12 in)

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    • Arhat Nagasena

      Distemper on cloth with silk mounts
      Tibet
      18th century
      91 x 60 cm (35¾ x 23½ in)

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    • Vajrabhairava

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      18th century
      102 x 66.2 cm (40 ¼ x 26 in)

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    • Vajrabhairava

      Distemper and gilt on cotton
      Tibet
      17th century
      28.5 x 23.5 cm (11 ¼ x 9 ¼ in)

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    • Mahakala Chaturbhuja

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      18th–19th century
      76.3 x 54.4 cm (30 x 21 ½ in)

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    • Book cover with Maitreya and the Past Buddha

      Pigments on wood
      Tibet, central region
      12th century
      11 x 36.4 cm (4 ¼ x 14 ½ in)

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    • Plate depicting King Shapur II (r. 309–378) hunting bears

      Silver with traces of gilding
      Sasanian
      4th century
      Height 3.9 x diameter 30.1 cm (1 ½ x 12 in)

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    • King wrestling a horse

      Silver with gilding
      Sasanian
      Ca. 4th–5th century
      Height 3.9 x diameter 23.3 cm (1 ½ x 9 ¼ in)

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    • Flask with flowers and bird design

      Silver with gilding
      Sasanian
      Ca. 7th century
      10 x 10 cm (4 x 4 in)

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    • Head of A Divinity

      Red sandstone
      India, Uttar Pradesh, Mathura
      4th century
      31 cm (12 ¼ in)

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    • Amitayus

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      14th century
      47 x 45 cm (18 ½ x 17 ¾ in)

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    • Amitayus

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      14th century
      82 x 68 cm (32 ¼ x 26¾ in)

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    • Vajrabhairava

      Distemper on cloth
      Tibet
      18th century
      107 x 69 cm (42 x 27 in)

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    • Ratnasambhava

      Distemper and gilt on cotton
      Tibet
      15th century
      60 x 50 cm (23 ½ x 19 ¾ in)

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