Until 1st Jan, 2026

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LOT 44 - FAS0624

Buy now for €7,800.00

Lot details

Tibetan-Chinese, 18th-19th century. Distemper and gold on cloth. Lying on a raised bed surrounded by a crowd of mourners consisting of celestial beings, bodhisattva, dignitaries and animals lamenting his death. Buddha’s expression is peaceful and serene, his arms slack to his side, his head resting on a pillow. Young magnolia trees shade the buddha with their multi-colored leaves bearing blossoms. The uppermost register depicts a blue and red celestial landscape with a single deity above a river valley. All enclosed with a blue floral border mounted on a silk frame.

Provenance: Koller, Zurich, 29 November 2022, lot 179, estimated at CHF 10,000 – CHF 15,000 or approx. EUR 11,500 – 17,250 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing.
Condition: Good condition with wear, minor soiling, light fading, creasing, and minor losses to gilding. The silk brocade in fair condition with extensive wear, soiling, loose threads, and small tears.

Dimensions: Image size 30.6 x 32.6 cm, Size incl. frame 46 x 49 cm

The death of the Buddha, also known as the Buddha’s Parinirvana referring to the Buddha’s enlightenment after death, has been depicted widely in Buddhist iconography and is recounted in the Mahaparinirvana sutra. According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha died in Kushinagara, Northern India, with the traditional dates of Buddha's life from 566-486 BC. After his death, the Buddha’s body was cremated and distributed among his followers. The stupas that guarded his remains became important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists.

The Mahaparinirvana sutra is one of the most important Buddhist scriptures, and it relates the events surrounding the Buddha’s death. The precise date of origin of this text is uncertain, but its early form may have developed in or by the second century CE. The original Sanskrit text is not extant except for a small number of fragments, but it survives in Chinese and Tibetan translation.

Expert’s note: The present painting depicts an interesting variation of the popular Parinirvana motif, clearly executed by a Chinese or Tibetan painter as evidenced by the colors, manner of painting, and brocade mounting. Compare with a much earlier version of the same subject, from Japan, dated to the Heian period, 267.6 x 271.2 cm, located at Kongōbu-ji, Mt. Kōya, Wakayama, Japan.


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