30th Sep, 2022 10:00

DAY 2 - TWO-DAY AUCTION - Fine Chinese Art / 中國藝術集珍 / Buddhism & Hinduism

 
Lot 700
 

700

A PINK SANDSTONE ARCHITECTURAL CORNER ELEMENT WITH TWO MANIFESTATIONS OF SHIVA, CHANDELLA PERIOD

Sold for €22,880

including Buyer's Premium


Lot details

Northern India, Rajasthan, mid-11th century. The corner piece carved with two figures, each a different form of Shiva. The figure on the left resembling Bhairava, holding a head of Brahma in his left hand, a twisted serpent writhing around his neck, the headdress formed from sinuous snakes, the face with an unusually serene expression. The figure on the right resembling Shiva in his pure Mahadeva (great god) form, elegantly dressed, the hair arranged in a chignon secured by a crown, with pearls and flowers around his forehead.

Provenance: From a notable collector in London, United Kingdom.
Condition: Excellent condition, commensurate with age. Extensive wear, nicks, losses, minor signs of weathering and erosion, few structural cracks.

Dimensions: Height 72.5 cm

Each figure stands in tribhanga, the relaxed triple-angled pose adopted by gods as they attend to their devotees. They have round faces, the god resembling Bhairava frowns slightly, but his Mahadeva-like companion looks benignly, confidently downwards. Both faces are stylized, but not in the exaggerated way that one sees increasingly towards the end of the 11th century. The sculpture is fashioned in pink sandstone which suggests that it comes from the western part of the Chandella kingdom, probably the southern region of Rajasthan.

The fine, smooth texture of this specific pink sandstone made it the ideal raw material, both for architectural purposes and detailed sculptural work.

The present sculpture is an architectural cornerstone element that would have been placed high on the wall of a Shaivite temple, so the devotees looked up at it. Consequently, the two gods look down as they encounter the visitor. The narrow ledge on which they stand is emphasized by the position of their feet, only just able to rest securely. Likewise, as they are sculpted in high relief, they seem to press their hips against the backing block. This of course was shaped to form part of the temple wall.

Various stylistic elements indicate that the sculpture dates from the 11th century. The long straight legs and slender body of each figure are indicative of this date and well illustrate the elegance of the mature Chandella style. In the 10th century, both male and female figures tend to appear shorter and plumper.

In northern India during the 8th to 13th centuries, numerous princely states coexisted. This was a period marked by warfare, rivalries and political alliances, taking place against a backdrop of an elegant courtly culture. Regardless of their status amongst their peers, the various rulers aimed to emulate the atmosphere of the 4th - 6th century Gupta Empire, which had been a time of literary and artistic achievement.

The Chandella dynasty became a great power in northern India in the 10th century. Thereafter successive rulers built magnificent temples at Khajuraho and elsewhere in their realm, to commemorate their military victories. As their influence expanded, their exquisite architectural style became admired across much of northern India, as indeed, it is now around the world. Chandella kings commissioned some of the finest temples in northern India. The best known of these today are in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, now a village but once the Chandella capital. Other temples, no longer standing, were located throughout their realm.

Expert’s note: A detailed commentary on the present lot, showing many further comparisons to examples in both public and private collections, is available upon request. To receive a PDF copy of this academic dossier, please refer to the department.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 27 March 2003, lot 34
Price: USD 71,700 or approx. EUR 113,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A buff sandstone stele of Shiva and Parvati, India, Uttar Pradesh or Rajasthan, 11th century
Expert remark: Note the size (80.5 cm)

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Christie’s Mumbai, 18 December 2016, lot 63
Price: INR 1,500,000 or approx. EUR 25,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A pink sandstone figure of Shiva, India, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, circa 12th century
Expert remark: Note the size (66 cm)

 

Northern India, Rajasthan, mid-11th century. The corner piece carved with two figures, each a different form of Shiva. The figure on the left resembling Bhairava, holding a head of Brahma in his left hand, a twisted serpent writhing around his neck, the headdress formed from sinuous snakes, the face with an unusually serene expression. The figure on the right resembling Shiva in his pure Mahadeva (great god) form, elegantly dressed, the hair arranged in a chignon secured by a crown, with pearls and flowers around his forehead.

Provenance: From a notable collector in London, United Kingdom.
Condition: Excellent condition, commensurate with age. Extensive wear, nicks, losses, minor signs of weathering and erosion, few structural cracks.

Dimensions: Height 72.5 cm

Each figure stands in tribhanga, the relaxed triple-angled pose adopted by gods as they attend to their devotees. They have round faces, the god resembling Bhairava frowns slightly, but his Mahadeva-like companion looks benignly, confidently downwards. Both faces are stylized, but not in the exaggerated way that one sees increasingly towards the end of the 11th century. The sculpture is fashioned in pink sandstone which suggests that it comes from the western part of the Chandella kingdom, probably the southern region of Rajasthan.

The fine, smooth texture of this specific pink sandstone made it the ideal raw material, both for architectural purposes and detailed sculptural work.

The present sculpture is an architectural cornerstone element that would have been placed high on the wall of a Shaivite temple, so the devotees looked up at it. Consequently, the two gods look down as they encounter the visitor. The narrow ledge on which they stand is emphasized by the position of their feet, only just able to rest securely. Likewise, as they are sculpted in high relief, they seem to press their hips against the backing block. This of course was shaped to form part of the temple wall.

Various stylistic elements indicate that the sculpture dates from the 11th century. The long straight legs and slender body of each figure are indicative of this date and well illustrate the elegance of the mature Chandella style. In the 10th century, both male and female figures tend to appear shorter and plumper.

In northern India during the 8th to 13th centuries, numerous princely states coexisted. This was a period marked by warfare, rivalries and political alliances, taking place against a backdrop of an elegant courtly culture. Regardless of their status amongst their peers, the various rulers aimed to emulate the atmosphere of the 4th - 6th century Gupta Empire, which had been a time of literary and artistic achievement.

The Chandella dynasty became a great power in northern India in the 10th century. Thereafter successive rulers built magnificent temples at Khajuraho and elsewhere in their realm, to commemorate their military victories. As their influence expanded, their exquisite architectural style became admired across much of northern India, as indeed, it is now around the world. Chandella kings commissioned some of the finest temples in northern India. The best known of these today are in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, now a village but once the Chandella capital. Other temples, no longer standing, were located throughout their realm.

Expert’s note: A detailed commentary on the present lot, showing many further comparisons to examples in both public and private collections, is available upon request. To receive a PDF copy of this academic dossier, please refer to the department.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 27 March 2003, lot 34
Price: USD 71,700 or approx. EUR 113,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A buff sandstone stele of Shiva and Parvati, India, Uttar Pradesh or Rajasthan, 11th century
Expert remark: Note the size (80.5 cm)

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Christie’s Mumbai, 18 December 2016, lot 63
Price: INR 1,500,000 or approx. EUR 25,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A pink sandstone figure of Shiva, India, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, circa 12th century
Expert remark: Note the size (66 cm)

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