A Nepalese gilt copper figure of a Donor Queen
16/17th century​

8 3/4 inches high




The female donor is shown seated on a lotus base in a half-kneeling position holding an outstretched offering bowl in her left hand, the right held in Vitarka Mudra, wearing regal jewelry and elaborate crown, a scarf, a billowing scarf rising from the shoulders to the back of her head, the multi-petaled lotus base cast separately 


In ancient times as today, the Nepalese consider a religious endowment or donation of any sort as a deeply spiritual act that confers a special merit and benefit on the soul of the donor. The building of temples and installation of images for the daily devotion of worshippers and pilgrims, served as an increase to the eternal merit of a pious and charitable patron.

Such acts of extraordinary generosity were often commemorated in Nepal with votive statues, "either attached to an image or placed in a temple or monastery" , see P.Pal, Art of Nepal, Catalog of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1985, p. 127, where the donors themselves, and their spouse or spouses, are shown in worship of a pre-eminent deity. 


In keeping with the prevalent custom of Nepal, this female donor is shown seated on the ground in a half kneeling position. She approaches the deity with an outstretched offering bowl and the "gesture of exposition" Vitarka Mudra, which here represents an invocation or prayer to the presiding god or goddess. From her regal jewelry and elaborate crown, she can be identified as an idealized image of a Nepali queen, whose semi-divine status is further attested by a billowing scarf and the splendid lotus plinth. The high quality and lively workmanship point without doubt to a royal workshop for the production of this sort of an accomplished image.