string(20) "edanmdm:fsg_S2015.25" Medicine Buddha Bhaishajyaguru - National Museum of Asian Art

Medicine Buddha Bhaishajyaguru

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At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    8th-9th century
  • Geography

  • Material

    High tin bronze
  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 31.1 × 18 × 18.2 cm (12 1/4 × 7 1/16 × 7 3/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Provenance

    Before 1988
    Samuel Eilenberg (1913-1998), method of acquisition unknown [1]
    From at least 1992-?
    Alexander Götz, method of acquisition unknown [2]
    Unknown collector, New York, NY, method of acquisition is unknown [3]
    Sale, New York, NY, Christie’s, “Indian and Southeast Asian Art,” March 20, 2002, lot 14 [4]
    Gilbert Kinney (1932-2020) and Ann Kinney, purchased at March 20, 2002 Christie’s Sale, New York, NY [5]
    From 2015
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Ann and Gilbert Kinney [6]
    [1] See Christie’s, “Indian and Southeast Asian Art” [auction catalogue] (New York, March 20, 2002), p. 26, lot 14 (illustrated). Samuel Eilenberg, a Polish emigre who came to the United States in 1939, was one of the 20th century's most renowned experts on algebraic topology and developed a new field of mathematics called homological algebra. Eilenberg became interested in art collecting on a trip to Bombay in the mid-1950s and put his storied collection together over the next 30 years. His fame among certain art collectors overshadows even his mathematical reputation. His collection included art from Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Central Asia dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 17th century. He acquired objects for his collection through dealers, including Spink and Son, auction houses, and also flea markets. Items from Eilenberg’s collection may also be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Cultural History (USLA), Friends of Israel Museum, and University of Missouri Museum of Art & Archeology. See Shehbaz H. Safrani, “Samuel Eilenberg” in “American Collectors of Asian Art” (Marg Publications, 1986), ed. Pratapaditya Pal, pp. 146-164. Skinner, “Asian Works of Art, featuring the Collection of Samuel Eilenberg” [auction cat.] (Boston, October 20, 2001), p. 5. Hyman Bass et. al., “Samuel Eilenberg 1913-1998: A Biographical Memoir” from “Biographical Memoirs,” ed. National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC: The National Academy Press, 2000) vol. 79, pp. 1-29.
    Eilenberg’s papers at the Columbia University Archives. In 2013, a museum researcher searched Eilenberg’s papers and no specific information on this object was found and the whereabouts of this object prior to 1970 remains unknown.
    [2] See Alexander Go¨tz and Shirley Day, “The Ancient Art of Southeast Asia” [exhibition catalogue] (London: Shirley Day Ltd., in association with Alexander Go¨tz, 1992), cat. no. 7 (illustrated). See also email to Ann Kinney to Debra Diamond, March 12, 2012, where Ann Kinney informs Debra Diamond that she talked to Shirley Day, who reported that this object had been consigned to her gallery by Alexander Go¨tz. In the email, the object is described as “#98, the Medicine Buddha,” copy in object file.
    Alexander Go¨tz is a German collector and dealer specializing in Indonesian art. Go¨tz moved to Bali in 1971 (living in Ubud) and he started collecting contemporary Indonesia art in 1972. In 1985, Go¨tz left Bali and returned to Germany with his family. Between 1990 and 2015, Go¨tz owned and operated a self-titled gallery in London, England that specialized in South and Southeast Asian art. Go¨tz also sold works at the art fair Asian Art in London and at the International Asian Art Fair in New York, NY. In 2015, Go¨tz moved back to Indonesia and opened a gallery in Kabupaten Badung, Bali. Items from his collection can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
    [3] See note 1 and note 2. In the catalogue for the March 20, 2002 Christie’s sale, the owner is described as “Property of a New York City Collector.” It is possible that this unknown New York collector purchased the object from Shirley Day since she stated that the object was consigned to be by Go¨tz. Or, the object could have been purchased from Go¨tz at the International Asian Art Fair in New York, NY. There is no evidence to support either theory.
    [4] See note 1. In the Christie’s catalogue, the object is described as “An Important Bronze Figure of the Medicine Buddha, Baishajyaguru, Central Java, 8th/9th century.”
    [5] See Christie’s invoice addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert H. Kinney, dated March 20, 2002, copy in object file. Gilbert H. Kinney and Ann Kinney were American philanthropists and collectors of Modern American art and South and Southeast Asian art. Items from Mr. and Mrs. Kinney’s collection may also be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and Yale University Art Gallery. Mr. Kinney later served on several boards including the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution (President 1979-1982; Trustee Emeritus in 2019); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Yale University Art Gallery; and the American Federation of the Arts, New York, NY.
    [6] See Deed of Gift, dated December 8, 2015, copy in object file.
    Research Completed November 3, 2022
  • Collection

    National Museum of Asian Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    The Art of Knowing in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas (March 25, 2023 - ongoing)
    Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia (October 14, 2017 to February 6, 2022)
    Art of the Gift: Recent Acquisitions (July 24 to December 13, 2015)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Dr. Samuel Eilenberg (1913-1998)
    Alexander Götz
    Ann Kinney
    Gilbert H. Kinney (1931-2020)
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Gift of Ann and Gilbert Kinney
  • Type

  • On View

    Sackler Gallery 22a: The Art of Knowing in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas
  • Restrictions and Rights

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