MATERIAL: Terracotta
TYPE: Tablet
DIMENSIONS: 16 cm (6 1/4 in.), the highest
COMPONENTS: 11 tsatsa. Subjects include: -Panjaranatha Mahakala (within a glazed wooden box); -Vajabhairava (twice); -Vajrabhairava Ekavira; -Buddha Samantabhadra; -Buddha Akshobhya; -Prajnaparamita; -Secret Yama Dhamaraja; -Guhyasamaja; -The Three Long-Life Deities; -Five Bardo deities.
NOTES: Himalayan Art Resources item no. 205252

The Triay Collection of Himalayan and Mongolian Art

15 Dec 2022

Paris, Avenue Hoche

Paris - Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr is proud to announce the auction of the Triay Collection of Himalayan and Mongolian Art which will take place in Paris on Thursday 15 December. The collection spans works created over a period of 1,500 years in the Buddhist culture that once flourished in Mongolia, Nepal and Tibet with estimates from €100 to €80,000. The sale consists of more than 480 lots of which 93 lots will be offered in the Live Auction on 15 December, with the remainder being offered in an Online-Only Auction from 10-16 December.

Assembled over a period of 40 years with an eye for the unusual and esoteric, The Triay Collection of Himalayan Art includes a vast array of sculptures, masks, paintings, amulets, sculptures, ritual paraphernalia and objects. In the Tibetan Buddhist artistic traditions, graphic images of death and the afterlife - an area which was of particular fascination to the collector - are used as reminders that life is fleeting and that we must act virtuously. This exceptional sale showcases eerily beautiful images in the form of paintings, sculptures, objects, and ritual items. It presents a rare opportunity for collectors to dive deeply into Buddhist lore and practice.

A number of the highlights are dedicated to the Buddhist deity Chitipati, which take the form of skeletons, represented either singularly or as pairs depicted as a harmonious couple dancing with limbs intertwined, such as a pair of Chitipati ritual dance costumes with white metal and silver masks and silk embroidered garments and boots, Mongolia, 19th century (€80,000-120,000). Another Chitipati ritual dance costume with a papier-mâché mask and painted silk and silk embroidered garments and boots, Mongolia, 19th century will be offered with an estimate of €40,000-60,000. Considered embodiments of the deity themselves, each element of the costume is thoughtfully designed. The five-pointed crown of skeletons and parasol finial surmounting the terrifying gaze and wide gaping mouth of the face is deliberately fearsome.

Bonhams Global Head of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art, Edward Wilkinson, commented, "The Triay Collection is a unique assemblage of Himalayan art gathered over decades with a discerning eye and attention to detail. With many works featured in the landmark exhibitions in the Fundación "la Caixa", Madrid in 2000, Musee Guimet, Paris in 2002, Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2003 and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York in 2010, this collection shines a fascinating light on Buddhist ritual art."

Bonhams Global Head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Asaph Hyman, commented: "Following the success of the sales of de Marteau and Rousset Collections, the Triay collection is a further milestone in the market. This collection shines a fascinating light on ritual instruments and objects and offers a wonderful opportunity to collectors worldwide. It is an honour to have been entrusted with this remarkable project."
ITEM ID: 5418

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Eleven Polychrome Clay and Terracotta Tsatsa

Notes: 18th/19th century

Eleven polychrome clay and terracotta tsatsa.

A tsatsa is a type of votive tablet depicting a hollowed, reversed image of either a stupa, sacred symbol, or a one of the many deities from Vajrayana Buddhism. Its Tibetan name, which translates to ‘earth-imprint,’ is associated with the Sanskrit word for ‘holy image’ or ‘reproduction’ (sat-chaya), as well as ‘stamp’ or ‘mold impression’ (canchaka), which is derived from the Prakrit word for modeling (sacchava or sacchaka).

In traditional methods, tsatsa are formed with clay, where it is pressed using a wooden, stone, or metal mould and then left to dry. In modern practices, more durable materials such as resin, plaster, hydro-stone, or even pewter are used instead.

To Tibetans, the creation of a tsatsa is an action that accumulates merit and mental well-being. Students are often tasked with the making of 100,000 tsatsas within their lifetime. It is one of the five preliminary practices in Vajrayana Buddhism – a method to eliminate obstacles, purify negativities, and create positive energy.

Tsatsas are normally displayed on altars, shrines, or modes of transportation; inside stupas and prayer wheel niches; and at holy sites such as meditation caves, mountains, and lakes. Smaller tsatsas are placed inside a gau, or a portable shrine, and are used as protective amulets by travelers. Regardless of their size or where they are placed, these tablets represent the protective blessings and magical properties imbued within the body of the Buddha. In some cases, the incorporation of sacred substances into a clay mixture, such as the ashes, hair, or powdered bone of a deceased lama or a revered lay practitioner was meant to enhance the potency and efficacy of a tsatsa.