X-RARE Chinese Tang Dyn. Buddhist Reliquary Rock Crystal & Gilded Bronze Casket


X-RARE Chinese Tang Dyn. Buddhist Reliquary Rock Crystal & Gilded Bronze Casket

Buy Now

X-RARE Chinese Tang Dyn. Buddhist Reliquary Rock Crystal & Gilded Bronze Casket:
$467500.00


ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

Artifacts, Antiques, & Fine Collectables


Chinese Tang Dynasty Buddhist Reliquary Casket

Rock Crystal, Gilt-Bronze, and Red Nanhong Agates

Flying Fairies/Celestial Beings Delivering Food

Two Buddhist Heavenly Attendants (Apsara) in Flight

Circa: Tang Dynasty

618—907

"Everything ischangeable, everything appears and disappears;

there is no blissful peace untilone passes beyond the agony of life and death."

~Buddha


NOTE: This transparent,two-piece, crystal and gilt bronze reliquary casket that once held a pricelessrelic of Buddha is now empty and only contains only minor earthen deposits and NO relics.

This itemis legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600,CHAPTER 14, and is guaranteed to be as described or your money back. This item will come with a Certificate ofAuthenticity (COA) from ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS.


SUMMARY:Item: Chinese Rock Crystal & Gilt-Bronze Buddhist Reliquary Casket with Two Heavenly Attendants (Apsara) in Flight Among the CloudsMedium: Two-piece, Carved Rock Crystal and Gilt-Bronze Reliquary with 49 Inlaid Red Nanhong AgatesApproximate Size of Lid: 6.25” x 4” x 3” (16 cm x 10 cm x 7.5 cm)Culture: ChinaDynasty: c. Tang (618—907)Weight: 2.59 lbs. (1.17 kg)Origin: Tang Dynasty Buddhist Temple in Shaanix Province, China, until destroyed during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Reportedly rescued by a Buddhist monk and held in a Private Collection in Henan, China, until acquired by this site.Provenance/History:Ex private Buddhist collection in Luoyang, Henan Province, China; Hong Kong; Japan & now in a personal collection in Washington State, USA. First time for sale in the United States.This is reportedly one of only about 20 crystal reliquaries from the Tang Dynasty period that are known to have survived. In 1999, the British Museum, in cooperation with China’s Shaanix Lintong Museum, displayed a set of five such caskets that were excavated in 1987 from the crypt of Famen Temple, Fufeng county, Shaanix Province, China. Item # 119 is a similar, but not as ornate as this example, two-piece crystal casket with an arc-shaped lid. This reliquary was reportedly saved from destruction by a Buddhist monk during China’s brutal, Cultural Revolution that started in 1966. Buddhist monks and nuns have been reported tortured and killed by the Chinese military, according to all human rights groups. There were over 6,000 Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, and nearly all of them were ransacked and destroyed by the Chinese communists, mainly during the Cultural Revolution. Perhaps the most famous of the Buddhist temples was Famen Temple, where Tang emperors gifted 7 Buddhist relics this temple. {See details below.}From a Tang Dynasty census specially prepared in 845 AD, we know that there were 260,000 monks and nuns, 4,600 temples and 40,000 shrines. Relics of the Buddha were periodically brought from the Famen Temple to the palace in Chang’an (modern Xi’an) for worship by the royal family. Could this casket have held one of Buddha's relics? It's possible.Like other faiths, Buddhism, which traveled to China two millennia ago from India, was targeted during the Cultural Revolution. The Changxing Temple was razed. Former village head Zhang Qian, from a Buddhist family himself, remembers how his hands shook as he used a hammer to destroy the temple’s clay Buddhas.In Beijing alone, among the listed 6,843 registered cultural relics, 4,922 were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. More than half a million antiques were reportedly destroyed by the communist government and thousands of sacred books burned. In addition, Buddhist monks were tortured and killed.
CONDITION:
This opaque, two-piece, rock crystal Buddhist Reliquary is in museum quality condition. It is a two-piece casket with an ornate, removable, arc-shaped lid made of rock crystal that is decorated with an overlay of a gilt-bronze, scrollwork depiction of two Heavenly Attendants (Aspara) in the clouds delivering food on large serving platters. This crystal reliquary would have been the innermost and most ornate of several caskets designed to hold the precious relics of Buddha during the Tang Dynasty.The Tang Dynasty was a peak period for the development of fine bronze art for the elite and upper class. Gilt-bronze art was very popular in the Tang Dynasty due to the improvement of the metal casting techniques and the improvement of people's lives. Thick and delicately decorated with inlaid semi-precious stones, the gilt-bronze metal works of the Tang Dynasty were as pure as silver, with more tin in the raw materials and the embellishment of rare stones like these round, red, Nanhong agates. Red is associated with the Buddha Amitābha, who is a celestial Buddha according to the scriptures of Mahāyāna Buddhism.All of the original, 49 inlaid, red Nanhong Agates that accent this ornate reliquary are still securely mounted in place: 39 agates on the removable lid and 10 larger red agates on the base! The transparent, two-piece, crystal casket that once held a priceless relic of Buddha is now empty and only contains minor earthen deposits. The crystal casket remains in excellent condition with no apparent chips or cracks.This artifact shows bronze oxidation under about 20% the gilt/gold finish. The gilt-bronze surface shows some blisters from the oxidation of the bronze under the gold. It has age appropriate deposits and red, green, and blue oxidation of the bronze that was buried for millennia in damp soil, rich in cuprite, malachite, and azurite.Close examination with a microscope under natural and black light reveal it to be 100% authentic. Please look at the photos yourself and you will see the authentic details of this piece. Please see photos and offer accordingly.This stunning Tang Dynasty Reliquary is EXCEEDING RARE and perfect for the advanced collector, museum, or Buddhist temple.
The antique, gilt-wooden Japanese Buddhist alter stand that is pictured dates to the early Taisho Era (c. 1915) and will be included as a FREE Gift to the winning Buyer!It is made in two, removable pieces of age-cured, sugi (cryptomeria) wood with several coats of Japanese black lacquer on the table surfaces, and red lacquer on the top side of the removable, two-piece table.The stand is embellished on the front side and front legs with gold peonies and leaves, while the other sides and bottom are covered with a flat, ocher paint.This unique, Japanese altar table is a two-piece, wooden stand that was once used in a traditional home butsudan (Buddhist shrine).This lovely stand dates to the early Taisho Era (c.1915) and would have been used to place offerings of sake and food in the family shrine.This well-cured cryptomeria wood altar table is sure to stand the test of time for another century.It is very light and both pieces weigh only 5.9 oz. (168 gr.).
DETAILSThis Extremely RARE, Crystal & Gilt-Bronze Buddhist Reliquary/Casket dates to China’s Tang Dynasty (618—907). It once held a tiny, priceless, tiny bone fragments (called “grains” of relics) of Buddha (called Sarira in Sanskrit and Sheli in Chinese) and would have been contained in a crypt and venerated at a Buddhist monastery or temple in China.According to ancient tradition, the Buddha was cremated after attaining his final Nirvana (Enlightenment) and the sarira were the pure crystallized grains resulting from the cremation. The possession of authentic relics supposedly ensured the possessor an elevated place both in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and in society in general. At the same time, the relics would stimulate donations from the faithful, which guaranteed economic independence for the temple or monastery.In order to enhance the Buddhist faith, emperors during the Tang Dynasty had hundreds of elaborate, similar small caskets (reliquaries) that contained relics of Buddha sent to monasteries and temples throughout China. But few of these ornate reliquaries have ever been recovered, as most reliquaries were destroyed by subsequent dynasties and even during the 20th Century during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. According to one Chinese historian, only about 20 such reliquaries from the Tang Dynasty are known to exist in museums today.Transparent crystal was used as a medium for the display of the bones of Buddha, as the relics could then be seen without removing the lid of the casket. In addition, Buddha relics were often reported to glow with the Eternal Light of Buddha and thus the light would shine through the transparent crystal! Incredible!!Crystal Buddhist reliquaries made during the Tang Dynasty are exceedingly rare. According to one article on Ancient Buddhist Reliquaries in China and Korea, that was published in Chinese Archaeology by Yang Hong on 12/15/2014, only 20 examples that date to the Sui and Tang Dynasties survived China’s Cultural Revolution.The removable convex lid (also called the “canopy”) of this amazing reliquary is exquisitely decorated with a gilt-bronze, scroll-work scene that depicts two female apsara, or Buddhist heavenly attendants, flying among the clouds with their gowns flowing in wind.Each of the apsara appear to be carrying a platter piled high with food that is held in front of them as offerings. Each attendant is depicted with jeweled necklaces and their faces with shown with delicate features framed by an ornate, foliate crown, accented with further fluttering ribbons. The entire scene is very dramatic, flowing, and vibrant. It is surrounded by a ring of inlaid, red, Nanhong agates—a very symbolic color in Buddhism.BUDDHIST RELIQUARIESWithin the Buddhist context, reliquaries (Jap. shari) generally housed the mortal remains of the historic Buddha Shakyamuni. Upon his death in the 5th or 4th cent. BCE, his ashes and bone remains (called “grains” or “relics”) were divided between the rulers of eight kingdoms in northern India, who had them interred in stûpa, semi-circular funerary monuments, erected for the purpose.This was the start of the veneration of reliquaries, closely associated with Buddhism, which was disseminated, in conjunction with Buddhist teachings, throughout Central Asia and China and onward to Japan, being mentioned there for the first time in AD 585. The tower-like pagoda took over the function of the stûpa in East Asia. The reliquaries housing the relics were generally sunk into the base stone of the central column, where they would become the ritual center of the temple.It comprises four nested containers, a stone casket (lid missing), a silver sarcophagus, a gold coffin, and a smaller gold coffin. The innermost diminutive coffin is only 1 cm in height, and it contains eleven grains of sarira. The reliquary from the monastery Chanzhongsi comprises three nested containers, a stone casket (only the lid remains), a silver casket, a gold coffin, and inside this inner coffin are 156 grains of sarira. These gold and silver sarira receptacles have finely detailed, tightly packed and intricate designs; the motifs are those of kalavinkas (human-headed birds) and cranes flying among clouds.Exquisite crystal and gilt-bronze reliquaries, like this example, were lavishly supported by Wu Zetian, the notorious Tang Dynasty empress who, in the late 7th century, whether for political or personal reasons or both, became an indefatigable patroness of all things Buddhist.By synthesizing all the above examples together, one can see that after Empress Wu in the Tang Dynasty started the trend in using the traditional form of the Chinese inner coffin and outer sarcophagus as models for sarira containers in sepulchral burial, the use of miniature gold coffins and silver sarcophagi as reliquaries became the standard practice to be followed by high-ranking officials and eminent monks of the Tang Dynasty. The sepulchral burial beneath the pagoda is an imitation of the tomb with an underground crypt of brick construction. Besides following tradition in depositing the gold coffin and silver sarcophagus inside a larger stone casket, the entire set is further ensconced under a sepulchral canopy fashioned out of carved stone.During the Buddhist proscription of the Huichang Era of Tang Emperor Wuzong, temples were dismantled, and images were smashed; naturally reliquaries were included among artifacts destroyed. After the restoration of Buddhism under Emperor Xuanzong, the making of sarira receptacles was resumed and further development was once again possible.The revival of Buddhism in China, however, was short-lived, as once the Ming Dynasty overthrew the Yuan, they expelled the lamas from the court and denounced this form of Buddhism as unorthodox.
The Densatil Monastery has long been considered one of the great treasures of Tibet. Constructed at the end of the 12th century in a remote, rocky area of central Tibet, this Buddhist monastery was most famed for its special stupas—reliquaries that housed the remains of venerated Buddhist teachers. The stupas at Densatil were of a type called tashi gomang (Many Doors of Auspiciousness). They were multi-tiered, sculptural gilt copper structures that stood more than ten feet tall and were resplendent with inlays of semiprecious stones. Prior to the destruction of Densatil during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1978), eight of them dating between 1208 and 1432 stood in the Monastery’s main hall. Perhaps the most famous of the Buddhist temples was Famen Temple. Famen Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in China, entered its halcyon days after formation of the Tang dynasty (618–907). During the first year of the reign of Wude of the Tang dynasty (618), it was named Famen Temple, and monks were recruited the following year. Later the temple took in homeless people fleeing chaos caused by war at the end of the Sui dynasty, and was unfortunately burnt. It was rebuilt later by monks. In Zhenguan 5th year (631), Zhang Liang was appointed to demolish Wangyun Palace to build the pagoda. It was rebuilt in Gaozong Xianqing 5th year (660), and was a four-storied pavilion-like pagoda. It was named later by Tang Zhongzong True Relic Pagoda. Tang Zhongzong actively advocated Buddhism, and along with Empress Wei buried their hair under the pagoda (unearthed in autumn 1978). Jinglong 4th year (710), the temple was renamed Grand Empire Carefree King Temple (圣朝无忧王寺), and the pagoda Grand True Relic Pagoda (大圣真身宝塔).In Wenzong Kaicheng 3rd year (AD 838), it was renamed Fayun Temple, but soon reverted to the name Famen. When Buddhism was suppressed in Huichang in the year of Wuzong, Famen Temple was affected. During Yizong's reign, the last Buddha relic acquisition in Tang dynasty took place. At that time, Famen Temple was rebuilt, and its underground palace was not later altered. The emperors of Tang dynasty acquired Buddha relics 7 times here, and every time donated generously, which facilitated the expansion of the temple and pagoda. After being built and renovated multiple times, Famen Temple evolved into a scale of 24 courtyards.During the Cultural Revolution, Buddhists were actively persecuted and sent for re-education, and temples, statues, and sutras were vandalized and destroyed. In recent years, Buddhism has been undergoing a revival, but most Buddhist institutions are within the confines of the state.During Cultural Revolution, the Red Guard damaged temple halls and Buddhist figures under the name of "breaking four old fashions". The abbot, Liangqing (良卿法师), incinerated himself in front of the True Relic Pagoda, in order to protect temple's underground palace. When the palace was unearthed later, the relic of self-immolation could still be seen. Other monks were either demobilized or killed. The temple became "the temporary headquarters of proletariat rebellion of Fufeng County".After 1979, Shaanxi province government once funded restoration of the Mahavira Hall and the Brass Buddha Pavilion (铜佛阁). At 1:57am of 4 August 1981, half side wall of True Relic Pagoda collapsed in the heavy rain. This incident drew universal attention. In 1984, the government implemented religious policy and handed Famen Temple to Buddhist community. In 1985, Shaanxi province government decided to pull down the remaining half side wall and rebuild the True Relic Pagoda.On 3 April 1987, the underground palace of True Relic Pagoda in Famen Temple was opened, and a large quantities of precious historical relics were unearthed. This was quite a hit in news at that time. The expansion of the temple and the reconstruction of the pagoda were completed in October 1988. On 9 November of the same year, the Famen Temple Museum was opened.On 16 Oct 2014, the World Fellowship of Buddhists held its 27th General Conference in the temple marking a milestone as it's the first time the conference is held in China.Chinese Nanhong Agates and Color Symbolism in Buddhist ArtThis antique, gilt-bronze Buddhist reliquary is beautifully accented with inlaid red Nanhong agates—a sacred color and one of the colors of the five Buddhas. These red agates set into the gilt-bronze edges of the crystal casket is stunning! They beautifully accent the edges of both the lid and the base of this reliquary. For millennia in China, these red agates were symbols of longevity, balance, infinite light, and good fortune.The Chinese name for agate is "ma nao, meaning “horse brain,” since at least the second century AD, when the feared General Cao Cao, the hero in The Romance of The Three Kingdoms, received an agate wine container as a gift. The general then wrote a poem referring to the material as “horse brain.”In Buddhist practice, the color red symbolizes lifeforce, preservation, fire, and sacred things or places. Red is associated with the Buddha Amitābha, who is a celestial Buddha according to the scriptures of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal Buddha in Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetizing red fire element, the aggregate of discernment, pure perception and the deep awareness of emptiness of phenomena. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merits resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. Amitābha means "Infinite Light", so Amitābha is also called "The Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Light".Throughout Tibetan culture, red is a marker of sacred areas, and a true mark of a Buddhist scared area are the simplistic, tall gates at the entrances. We also see this color on the garments on the monks and on sacred reliquaries like this example. It is believed to be a protective color, like that of shamanistic wards.The color red is also auspicious in Tibetan culture. and the color of the monk's garments. It is believed to have protective qualities and is therefore often used to paint sacred buildings.ASPARA or TENNIN 天人 = Celestial Beings


In Japan, this class of Heavenly Messengers includes the Flying Apsara (Hiten 飛天), Celestial Maidens (天女), and the Bosatsu on Clouds (Unchū Kuyō Bosatsu 雲中供養菩薩). The Sanskrit term for these celestial beings is APSARA -- it refers to the divine beauties and dancers who populated Lord Indra’s court in Hindu mythology.In Japan, the term APSARA is rendered as TENNIN (celestial beings), a group that also includes the TENNYO (heavenly maidens). These heavenly beings are not generally worshipped as Buddhist divinities. Rather, they serve as acolytes to the gods, and appear often as decorative elements in Buddhist temples, sculpture, painting, and religious clothing. Sometimes, however, the TENNIN are treated as BOSATSU (Bodhisattva).


GILT-BRONZEMercury gilding was invented in China around the 5th century B.C.E. and used extensively during the Tang Dynasty.Gold powder and mercury were mixed together to form a paste (also called an amalgam). The paste was applied to bronze or silver surfaces and heated. The mercury would vaporize with heat, leaving a thin layer of gold that was then burnished to give a smooth, shiny, gilded surface.PROVENANCE/HISTORYI obtained this stunning, crystal, Buddhist Reliquary directly from a private collection in China and I Guarantee it to be original and authentic. This reliquary was reportedly saved from destruction by a Buddhist monk during China’s brutal, Cultural Revolution that started in 1966. Buddhist monks and nuns have been reported tortured and killed by the Chinese military, according to all human rights groups. There were over 6,000 Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, and nearly all of them were ransacked and destroyed by the Chinese communists, mainly during the Cultural Revolution.During the Cultural Revolution, Buddhists were actively persecuted and sent for re-education, and temples, statues, and sutras were vandalized and destroyed. In recent years, Buddhism has been undergoing a revival, but most Buddhist institutions are within the confines of the state.This is the first time it has been for sale in the United States, as it was previously in a private collection in China, hidden from Chinese communists. Unfortunately, the original location of the exact temple from whence this particularly intriguing reliquary came is now unknown. Some experts have suggested it was one of the famous 7 relics that were gifted to the Faman Temple by Tang emperors.Since the communist revolution, Buddhism was severely restricted and brought under state-control at times. In addition, "Marxist-Leninist atheism has been widely publicized, resulting in steadily decreasing religious communities", especially in areas with developed economies.I have carefully examined this item under magnification and it also shows authentic and original signs of weathering that help to further authenticate it as an ancient piece. It has a wonderful old, patina that is absolutely fabulous: a greenish patina from the malachite in the surrounding soil, and some dark red patina from the cuprite in the soil. This combination of colors forms a fantastic patina that is typical of bronze that has been buried for over 2,000 years. Close examination with a microscope under natural and black light reveal it to be 100% authentic.Please Note: There are many, many modern fakes of old Chinese Buddhist items for sale on and on the Web, so please only buy your ancient artifacts from knowledgeable dealers in the USA. I Guarantee this item to be authentic or your money back! You will not be disappointed! It is exceeding rare and museum quality ancient Chinese work of art.This Crystal & Gilt-Bronze Buddhist Reliquary is an EXTREMELY RARE Chinese artifact. Similar examples rarely come to market and usually only found on display in the world’s finest museums.This is one of only about 20 reliquaries from the Tang Dynasty period that are known to have survived. In 1999, the British Museum, in cooperation with China’s Shaanix Lintong Museum, displayed a set of five such caskets that were excavated in 1987 from the crypt of Famen Temple, Fufeng county, Shaanix Province, China. Item # 119 shown in the museum catalog is a similar, but not as ornate as this example, two-piece crystal casket with an arc-shaped lid. For centuries, Buddhist works of art have adorned monasteries, temples, galleries, museums, and private collections around the world, monuments to Buddhism’s far-reaching impact and timeless teachings. In recent years, the value of Buddhist art has climbed significantly in the art market.offer with confidence--as I have Positive response from hundreds of satisfied customers from around the world!REFERENCES:Gilded Dragons: Buried Treasures from China’s Golden Ages, Carol Michaelson, The British Museum, 1999, item # 119 on page 162.Ancient Buddhist Reliquaries in China and Korea, Chinese Archaeology, Vol. 10, pgs. 184-195, Yang Hong, 12/15/2014. NOTE: The original essay was published in Kaogu 考古 (Archaeology) 2009.1: 73–84 with 14 illustrations. It was authored and rewritten by Yang Hong 杨泓 and translated into English by Judy Chungwa Ho.The Great Bronze Age of China: An Exhibition from the People’s Republic of China, edited by Wen Fong, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980.
Shanghai Museum, Tang Dynasty Inlaid Gilt-BronzeBritish Museum, Tang Dynasty, Gilt-Bronze on displayMuseum of Chinese History, BeijingThe Great Bronze Age of China, edited by Wen Fong, MET, 1980Changhua Annals of the Republic of China (1911–1949)Color Symbolism in Buddhist Art, Kumar, Nitin. Exotic India Art. 1 Feb. 2002Buddhist Reliquaries from Ancient India, Michael Willis, London: British Museum Press, 2000.THE RELIQUARY EFFECT: Enshrining the Sacred Object, Cynthia Hahn, Reaktion Books, 2016Life in Purgatory: Buddhism Is Growing in China, But Remains in Legal Limbo, TIME, by Yang Siqi / Beijing March 16, 2016British Museum, Jessica RawsonSmithsonian Museum, Sackler & Freer Gallery, WDCMET, New York
It will come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) from the President of ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS.
Please look carefully at the photos, taken indoors, since they are part of the description.
The antique, 100-year-old Japanese gilt alter pictured is included as part of the sale as a FREE Gift!And please ask any questions before you buy.Thanks!Per 's rules, PayPal only please!SHIPPING & Insurance for all the 50 United States. Domestic Returns will NOT be accepted.
International buyers are responsible for any tariffs or duties, and for all shipping and insurance fees. International returns will NOT be accepted.International Returns will NOT be accepted.



X-RARE Chinese Tang Dyn. Buddhist Reliquary Rock Crystal & Gilded Bronze Casket:
$467500.00

Buy Now



Related Items:

X-RARE Chinese Tang Dyn. Buddhist Reliquary Rock Crystal & Gilded Bronze Casket picture

X-RARE Chinese Tang Dyn. Buddhist Reliquary Rock Crystal & Gilded Bronze Casket

$425000.00



X-RARE Chinese Jade Statue of Buddha's Foot & Dragon King's Journey Immortality picture

X-RARE Chinese Jade Statue of Buddha's Foot & Dragon King's Journey Immortality

$112500.00



X-RARE Chinese Buddhist Vase $100k--Yuan Dyn. Jun Ware Opalescent White & Blue  picture

X-RARE Chinese Buddhist Vase $100k--Yuan Dyn. Jun Ware Opalescent White & Blue

$14250.00