Lot: A RARE SILVER PORTRAIT OF THE SIXTH SHAMARPA, CHÖKYI WANGCHUK, Tibet, early 17th Century
Auction House: Sotheby's New York
Sale: Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Works of Art Including Property from The Cleveland Museum of Art
Lot No.: 221
Estimate: US$400,000 - 600,000
Size: 12.5 cm
Provenance: Bukowskis Stockholm, 13 - 16 December 1988
Portraits of divinities like Sakyamuni and the vajra dorje are more common than that of the guru (lineage masters). Indeed, guru portraits are becoming more and more popular, especially to the pofessional, experienced collectors of religious artworks. The collectors are obsessed with the fasinating craftmanship behind the making of the guru portaits. The craftman forges and carves guru portraits according to the auctual appearance or thangka images of the religious leader. Involving not only spiritual imaginations but connections with the real world, these works enjoy a richer variety in their looks than the Buddhist works do.
Sotheby's New York will offer a guru portrait in one of its Asian Week auctions in March. The portait is a figure of Shamapra the Sixth, Chökyi Wangchuk. Religious portraits are usaully made of bronze, and the more valuable and important ones are gilted with gold or silver; but this guru portrait offered is wholly silver-forged, making it exceptional and expensive.
The craftwork is fine. Chökyi Wangchuk wears a summer gown, under which there is another gown for the winter.
However, with a height less than 13 cm, the portrait is not large in size.
Overall speaking, yet its estimation may be slightly high for some potential buyers.