Bodhisattva Gandhahastin

Historical period(s)
14th century
Gilt copper alloy, turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli
H x W x D: 29.1 x 12.1 x 6.1 cm (11 7/16 x 4 3/4 x 2 3/8 in)
Central Tibet
Credit Line
Purchase -- funds provided by the Friends of Asian Arts and Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Figure: bodhisattva

Buddhism, flower, Gandhahastin, Tibet

Mr. Eduardo Lingero, Belgium [1]

Sauveniere Collection, Brussels [2]

To 1995
Rossi & Rossi, Ltd., London, to 1995

From 1995
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from Rossi & Rossi, Ltd. in 1995


[1] This piece comes from the collection of Mr. E. Lingero, who collected works from Japan, China, Tibet, and Nepal. His collection was built up between World Wars I and II, from dealers in Paris and London where he was well known to the antique trade. He passed away in the late 1970s. This particular piece was among items he sold in his later years, when he helped form a number of private collections in Belgium and Holland. This piece went to the Sauveniere collection in Brussels (according to Provenance Remark 1, Vidya Dehejia, March 8, 1995, in the object record).

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Rossi & Rossi, Ltd.
Eduardo Lingero


This crowned Bodhisattva (enlightened being), portrayed as a slender, youthful figure, is an exuberant example of Tibetan metal imagery, which typically combines the Nepalese ideal of bodily form with the local emphasis on the color gold and semiprecious stone inlays.

The sensuous treatment of this figure was inspired by the Indian aesthetic tradition transmitted through Nepal; clues to its Tibetan origin come primarily from the broad facial features. Since Tibetans consider gold the supreme color, they frequently gild their metal images. In this complex process, a mixture of gold and mercury is applied to the image, then the image is heated to the temperature at which the mercury evaporates and the gold adheres to the surface. The Tibetan delight in encrusting the surface of their images with gems is evident in the lavish use of turquoise, coral, and lapis lazuli to adorn this object.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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