In this finely cast Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze he is depicted prostrate on a lotus ‘throne’ being trodden under foot by the vengeful guardian deity Mahakala. Here depicted with six arms, Mahakala is clad in a tiger skin and wears a skull tiara (probably originally set with coral or turquoise) with his eyes and wild hair picked out in red pigment.
The 8in (20cm) bronze, which probably dated to the 17th or 18th century, emerged for sale at the Cheshunt firm Cadmore Auctions (20% buyer’s premium) on August 10.
Despite the brief cataloguing – ‘A very early gilded bronze figure of an Oriental dragon god’ – 21 crystal clear online photographs provided potential buyers with the information they really needed.
Estimated at £600-1000, it sold to an overseas bidder at £28,000.