OAs 06772

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Statue of Yidam Sitasamvara

Asia, China, Tibet

Prior to 1909

Bronze, cast

Hermann Speck von Sternburg (diplomat)

Purchased by the museum from von Sternburg in 1909

OAs 06772

Yidam are meditation deities that practitioners use in Vajrayana Buddhism in an attempt to bring forth one’s inherent enlightened nature.

The union of Sitasamvara, depicted here, and his female counterpart Vajravarahi is a metaphor for the result of meditation. This result can be found in the merging of the two aspects of "masculine" compassion and "feminine" wisdom.

The collector Hermann Freiherr Speck von Sternburg (1852-1908) was a diplomat at the Beijing Legation Quarter from 1891 until 1897. As the son of a wealthy Leipzig business family, he had the necessary financial means to pursue his passion for collecting Chinese art here. As his records indicate, he probably bought a considerable part of his Buddhist objects of art from Buddhist temples and monasteries in the capital.

Dietmar Grundmann