29th Sep, 2022 13:00

DAY 1 - TWO-DAY AUCTION - Fine Chinese Art / 中國藝術集珍 / Buddhism & Hinduism

 
  Lot 258
 

258

A LARGE BRONZE DANCER'S HEADPIECE IN THE FORM OF A PANJURLI BHUTA (BOAR SPIRIT DEITY)

Sold for €5,200

including Buyer's Premium


Lot details

South India, Kerala or Karnataka, 18th century. The mask finely cast in openwork to depict the head of a boar spirit with large pierced almond-shaped eyes, neatly incised arched brows, the mouth agape revealing teeth and tongue, the long pierced snout and lips detailed with beaded decorations, the head surmounted by an intricately cast crown; topped by six cobras above beaded and floral decorations as well as a row of numerous smaller snakes.

Provenance: German trade.
Condition: Good condition with old wear and some casting irregularities. Losses, nicks and dents, a bit of verdigris here and there, particularly to back and interior. Naturally grown patina overall.

Weight: 5,475 g (excl. stand)
Dimensions: Height 48 cm (excl. stand)

This dramatic dancer's headpiece in the form of a boar’s head was created in the southwestern coastal region of Tulu Nadu (in the modern Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka state and Kasaragod district of Kerala state), for ritual use in dance festivals propitiating and honoring the local tutelary spirit deities (bhuta). Hundreds of these elaborate community celebrations, called Dharmanema festivals, are held every year between February and May to venerate the regional pantheon of over 350 spirit deities. The boar spirit deity (Panjurli), one of the most powerful and important Genii Loci, is said to be borne of the forest and is thus particularly revered in this lush tropical region. He is also responsible for upholding righteousness through his identification as a manifestation of Vishnu, the supreme Hindu god of preservation and social order. This religious correlation is expressed by Panjurli’s visual similarity to Varaha, the boar-headed avatar of Vishnu. Dancers' headpieces and masks are fashioned in a wide variety of iconographic forms and local artistic styles. They are typically quite large in size, and made in one of three primary media: wood, papier-mâché, and bronze. This headpiece is a tour de force of the genre because of its superb artistic quality, pronounced facial modeling, and complex ornamentation.

With a modern stand. (2)

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related copper alloy dancer’s headpiece in the form of Panjurli Bhuta, 43.5 cm high, in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, accession number M.2005.49a-b. For a comparable example, see Brian A. Dursum, Change and Continuity: Folk and Tribal Art of India, Florida, 1998, p. 38, fig. 62. See S. Aryan, Unknown Masterpieces of Indian Folk and Tribal Art, 2005, p. 61-63, for bhuta masks made in brass; and the exhibition Dancing Masks - Bronzes from Southern India, 17 May to 23 August, 2009 at the Museum Rietberg, Zurich.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Sotheby’s New York, 19 March 2008, lot 345
Price: USD 12,500 or approx. EUR 16,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: Panjurli-Bhuta Mask Copper Alloy India, Karnataka, Tulu Nadu region
Expert remark: Note the smaller size (38 cm)

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 18 September 2013, lot 246
Price: USD 16,250 or approx. EUR 20,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A brass bhuta mask of a boar, South India, Karnataka, 18th/19th century
Expert remark: Note the size (42.6 cm)

 

South India, Kerala or Karnataka, 18th century. The mask finely cast in openwork to depict the head of a boar spirit with large pierced almond-shaped eyes, neatly incised arched brows, the mouth agape revealing teeth and tongue, the long pierced snout and lips detailed with beaded decorations, the head surmounted by an intricately cast crown; topped by six cobras above beaded and floral decorations as well as a row of numerous smaller snakes.

Provenance: German trade.
Condition: Good condition with old wear and some casting irregularities. Losses, nicks and dents, a bit of verdigris here and there, particularly to back and interior. Naturally grown patina overall.

Weight: 5,475 g (excl. stand)
Dimensions: Height 48 cm (excl. stand)

This dramatic dancer's headpiece in the form of a boar’s head was created in the southwestern coastal region of Tulu Nadu (in the modern Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka state and Kasaragod district of Kerala state), for ritual use in dance festivals propitiating and honoring the local tutelary spirit deities (bhuta). Hundreds of these elaborate community celebrations, called Dharmanema festivals, are held every year between February and May to venerate the regional pantheon of over 350 spirit deities. The boar spirit deity (Panjurli), one of the most powerful and important Genii Loci, is said to be borne of the forest and is thus particularly revered in this lush tropical region. He is also responsible for upholding righteousness through his identification as a manifestation of Vishnu, the supreme Hindu god of preservation and social order. This religious correlation is expressed by Panjurli’s visual similarity to Varaha, the boar-headed avatar of Vishnu. Dancers' headpieces and masks are fashioned in a wide variety of iconographic forms and local artistic styles. They are typically quite large in size, and made in one of three primary media: wood, papier-mâché, and bronze. This headpiece is a tour de force of the genre because of its superb artistic quality, pronounced facial modeling, and complex ornamentation.

With a modern stand. (2)

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related copper alloy dancer’s headpiece in the form of Panjurli Bhuta, 43.5 cm high, in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, accession number M.2005.49a-b. For a comparable example, see Brian A. Dursum, Change and Continuity: Folk and Tribal Art of India, Florida, 1998, p. 38, fig. 62. See S. Aryan, Unknown Masterpieces of Indian Folk and Tribal Art, 2005, p. 61-63, for bhuta masks made in brass; and the exhibition Dancing Masks - Bronzes from Southern India, 17 May to 23 August, 2009 at the Museum Rietberg, Zurich.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Sotheby’s New York, 19 March 2008, lot 345
Price: USD 12,500 or approx. EUR 16,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: Panjurli-Bhuta Mask Copper Alloy India, Karnataka, Tulu Nadu region
Expert remark: Note the smaller size (38 cm)

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 18 September 2013, lot 246
Price: USD 16,250 or approx. EUR 20,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A brass bhuta mask of a boar, South India, Karnataka, 18th/19th century
Expert remark: Note the size (42.6 cm)

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