untitled9

A pair of gilt-copper repoussé 'lion' panels. Tibet, 19th century

Each panel decorated in high relief with a roaring lion standing on his hind legs with his front legs raised and each holding a pearl, the head, scrolling mane and eyebrows above the bulging eyes and nose, the jaws open revealing the menacing teeth and tongue touching the upper lip, adorned with a beaded necklace with scrolling foliage. 62.7cm (24¾in) wide. Sold for £13,200

Note: Tibetan stupas and statues are typically decorated with a pair of Buddhist lions supporting the dais with their raised front legs. The size of the lion panels in the present lot would suggest they were part of a very large stupa, and by implication, an important one. The Potala Palace houses several important stupas and sculptures adorned with related Buddhist lion panels; compare the lions decorating the 6.9 meter (22.6 foot) high stupa of the 11th Dalai Lama (1838-1855), the 7 meter (23 foot) high stupa of the 12th Dalai Lama (1858-1875) and the statue of Sakyamuni, illustrated in P. Namgyal, ed., Splendor of Tibet. The Potala Palace, Durmont, N.J., 2002, pp.102, 132 and 136.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, 14 May 2009. New Bond Street www.bonhams.com