Tibetan Vajradhatu mandala thangka to headline at Sotheby's

An 11th century Tibetan thangka (painting on fabric) of the Vajradhatu mandala is to lead a sale of Indian and Himalayan art at Sotheby's.

The lot is valued at $800,000-1.2m ahead of the sale, which will take place in New York on March 17.

Thangka Tibet Sothebys
The thangka depicts the important Vajradhatu mandala

Vajradhatu refers to the Diamond Realm, a space belonging to the five wisdom Buddhas - a popular subject for mandalas.

Sotheby's comments: "Notwithstanding the mandala's Indian inspiration it is a breathtaking work in its originality. The vastness of cosmic space is transposed onto canvas in a way not seen in any other mandala thangka from Tibet…

"The very essence of Indian spiritual and artistic heritage is thus contained within this highly important mandala, which may be regarded as one of the foundation stones in the history of early Tibetan art."

A gilt copper alloy figure of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi made in Tibet during the 15th century is likely to prove another highlight, with a valuation of $400,000-600,000.

The elaborate sculpture depicts the pair locked in an embrace and is described by the house as "the apex of the classical Central Tibetan style".

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