Iconic Samantabhadra & Samantabhadri late c19th - early c20th Antique Nepalese Bronze


Of all Asian bronzes which have been listed in my shop or are still in my possession, this is inarguably the most desirable in terms of its execution and quality, and a more finer example would prove almost impossible for you to locate outside of private hands. I make no false claims here. This is a historical important piece of Asian statuary and is the final piece that I shall be listing.

Please do not compare this piece to modern day copies or imports. This bronze is an item of major historical importance and significance as will become evident to you throughout this page listing.

To the untrained eye or the unknowing, this piece more than just merits a dedicated description of what this iconic bronze represents. This shall not be particularly easy within the space here available... However, here goes! I shall provide as best able.

The Buddha is represented here as Samantabhadra. Upon his lap sits his consort Samantabhadri. Their nakedness is by no means meant as an erotic pose but rather is a `unification' of if you like collective souls, one the same.

In Tibetan Buddhism, Samantabhadra is believed to be the primordial Buddha, who gave rise to all other Buddhas, and he is often portrayed naked to represent a showing of nothingness and a lack of form. His consort, Samantabhadri, is his female equivalent in this tantric embrace, to symbolize the union of kindness & wisdom. Neither of them is clothed to show the simplicity of the mind.

For descriptive purposes I will, if I may, refer to `Samantabhadri' to being `The Lady' and `Samantabhadra' as being `The Buddha' where acceptable for me to do so.

I have also used one of my own Thangka paintings, done by myself, to help to illustrate in more detail (within my photographs) the iconographical strict levels of doctrine as are used to portray such items as this bronze example of Samantabhadra & Samantabhadri.

It should be noted, that broadly speaking there is no room for ones' own artistic licence within Tibetan Buddhist iconography. Colour (if present) all facial features, postures and other elements will be exactly the same, no matter how big or how small the image is. Body parts, will be proportionate to an items size and do not waver. There are several examples upon this piece alone which can best describe this, and had this statue been life size, 500 feet high or less than an inch, each featured element would be the same, and if not, then it is not true to any held Buddhist belief.

Look at any `true' Tibetan iconic image of the Buddha, and his earlobes will be long, for example which is symbolic to longevity, and to indicate the Buddha is all-hearing. It is also as a reminder of the heavy earrings which weighed them down before he renounced all material things to seek enlightenment...

The Buddha's fingers shall also be elongated and very slender, which can be likened to the Christian held belief of Jesus as the fisherman, as the Buddha can "catch" people so as to protect them...

Hand posture and their gesture is of major significance within Buddhist iconography, and here we see the Buddha with his hands folded in his lap, his palms facing upwards and with both thumbs pointing inwards and almost touching. He is also sat in the most common of all depictions, legs crossed and the soles of both feet facing upwards, known as `The Lotus' position and this image is found almost everywhere Buddhism has taken root...

It is the posture of meditation, and as can be seen the Buddha's eyes are meditated & focussed upon his consort of this bronze.

He does not wear a cap or a hat, and the symbolic feature which covers the Buddha's head is his hair. Only when Buddha is portrayed as a young man, will his hair be at times shown as being long. It is from then onwards that his hair is depicted as being curly, to signify his shearing it off, which in itself is not common practice throughout Asia and so again it is a distinguishing symbolic sign.

The Lady (being his female equivalent) also displays the same characteristics of elongated earlobes and long slender fingers.

In each hand, she holds two objects, which for many will seem macabre. In her right hand she holds the curved bladed chopper knife, whilst in her left hand she clutches a skull cup, and whenever this is portrayed icnographically, then knife is always held higher than the cup... and for symbolic reason. The chopper is one of the most angriest of all weapons used within Buddhism by angry deities, male and female, and its sole purpose is to `chop-up' and to dismember disbelievers or in other words, `disturbing devils' who may come to destroy or to evoke the loving peace that exists in this instance by the Buddha and his female consort whilst they embrace in meditation. The cup is to catch the blood.

It can be said of most, if not all held beliefs, that each has symbolic protective elements... In simplistic terms, this Cup & Chopper are the `Holy Water' within Christian faith, and their use is to ward off badness and damaging spirits. I repeat though: in simplistic terms, as all held beliefs are extremely complex...

This incredible bronze is an artistic antiquity which not only represents but is a total joy to behold. It crosses all barriers of any held faith or belief to instil a total charm of presence. As a work of ART it is exceptional and as an historical bronze even more so.

One should never, EVER polish bronze items. Many years of natural patina will be removed in an instant and render the piece as being worthless in terms of monetary value. This piece has not been polished for over 100 years. A light dusting is all that is required as and when necessary or even required. I personally, do not interfere at all with items of antiquity however this piece is from my own temple where it has sat these past 25 plus years, undisturbed, and so purely for the sakes of my photographs of this remarkable piece... I have dusted it.

I am not a practicing Buddhist. I embrace all held beliefs of loving kindness, and as can be seen from all of the items in my shop, I have very much been an admirer of material things of amazing beauty, from a 1 inch snuff bottle, to this fabulous bronze, which was produced over one hundred years ago by the leading exponents of bronze metal casting in the Northern hemisphere, at Patan, Nepal, no later than c1910.

As with all of my ancient artefacts from the region, it was processed through the Archaeological Department in Kathmandu, for customs clearances and attribution.

NOTE * The vishvavajra (a double thunderbolt) has four heads representing the four dhyani Buddhas of the four directions: Amoghasiddhi for north, Akshobhya for the east, Ratnasambhava, lord of the south, and Amitabha who reigns over the west. It is the emblem of the crossed vajra that is inscribed upon the metal base that is used to seal deity statues after they have been consecrated.

This example of Samantabhadra & Samantabhadri, is like I say: "Second to None" outside of private hands or within museums.

It is a living splendour.

Height: 9.5 inches Widest width from knee to knee: 6.5 inches Postage weight: *4k 700gms *Postage Discounts are available for this item to overseas (outside of Europe) by request.

*This piece will only be shipped to any destination with insurance and shall require a signature upon its arrival*

Item ID: JJ675

I offer an excellent Layaway Service & Postage Discounts by request


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