Tibet, Vajradhara

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with silver, turquoise, lapis lazuli and clear gems, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk.

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with, turquoise, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk/en/buy-and-sell/auctions/lot-listings/122/details/19114/?currencyType=USD.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu1.html .

Vajradhara, his hands crossed over his heart, holding the stem of lotuses that support an upright vajra sceptre and bell.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams  https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25115/lot/130/.

His attributes may be placed horizontally instead.

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with silver, turquoise and coral inlay, private collection, photo by Hollywood Galleries https://issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/yinghartangcollection2.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with turquoise and glass inlay, private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos on http://www.aaoart .

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Hollywood Galleries on http://https-//issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/9-3-13_revised.

Alternatively, he has the vajra sceptre in his right hand and the bell in the other.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara and consort (labelled Samvara), bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel https://www.auction.de .

He may be depicted in embrace with his consort, who holds the same attributes or a flaying knife and a skull cup.

16th century (Tibet?), Vajradhara and consort, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk .

 

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Tibet, famous lamas (14)

15th century, Tibet, Go Lotsawa Zhonupel, bronze, private collection, photo by Hollywood Galleries https://issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/the_touch_of_devotion______________.

As the title ‘lotsawa’ indicates, Zhonnu Pel was a translator of buddhist texts (from sanskrit to Tibetan), but he is best remembered for his writings such as the Blue Annals, an early history of buddhism in Tibet.

17th century, Tibet, Lotsawa Kunga Legpa Jungne Gyaltsen, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel https://veryimportantlot.com/en/lot/view/sculpture-of-a-tibetan-scholar-probably-lotsawa-k-1948.

16th century or earlier, Tibet, Drukpa Kagyu lama Gotsangpa Gonpo Dorje, bronze (brass) with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s on http://en.51bidlive.com/PreView/PreViewDetails/1465457 .

Gotsangpa Gonpo Dorje holds a long-life vase in his left hand. Before becoming a buddhist master he was a kind of live performance entertainer. See the notes on his interesting and intense life  on Treasury of Lives https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Gotsangpa-Gonpo-Dorje/3759

16th century, (Tibet or China), Drakpa Gyaltsen, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk.

16th century, Tibet, Sonam Lhundrup, gilt copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhamshttps://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24904/lot/25/ .

16th century, Tibet, deified lama (labelled ‘Tsongkhapa’), bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com/uk/auction-0345-2/a-bronze-figure-of-lama-tsongkhapa-seated-on-a.asp?action=reset.

This obviously eminent figure seated on a lion throne covered with a cloth  holds a skull cup and a long-life vase in his left hand. The lotuses on each side support a tiny book and a vajra sceptre.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, labelled ‘very probably Tsongkhapa’, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu133.html.

When portrayed as a lama seated on a lotus, Tsongkhapa always does the dharmacakra gesture with his hands while holding the stem of lotuses that bear his attributes, a book to his left, the hilt of a sword to his right (not represented or missing here).

Tibet, Vajrasattva (15)

Undated (Tibet), Vajrasattva, (copper alloy with cold gold, turquoise and black pigment), photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu1.html.

This buddha with a serene face wears a very unusual Nepalese-style crown with big lotus buds at the front and, instead of the large hoops normally seen on such sculptures, big floral earrings. His scarf is decorated with a chased motif and arranged behind him in a manner often seen on 13th and 14th century Tibetan brass works. The hair is painted black, which indicates an influence from the Kathmandu Valley.

Undated (Tibet), Vajrasattva, (copper alloy with cold gold and blue pigment), photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts on http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu140.html.

An Indo-Tibetan figure with a stern gaze, cold gold on his face, blue pigment on his braided hair (his crown now lost), small delicate fingers and fleshy toes, part of his garment arranged like in a scallop shape over the (missing) base.

13th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, brass with pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25115/lot/132/.

Vajrasattva, seated in the vajra position, holding an upright vajra sceptre  before his heart and a vajra bell upside down near his left hip.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25115/lot/177/.

Unlike most other buddhas, he may be seated with one leg pendant. As Bonhams explain, in such case he has the function of a bodhisattva.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper or copper alloy with turquoise, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, https://www.himalayanart.org/items/202938 .

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva (labelled ‘Avalokiteshvara’), gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com .

15th century, (Tibet), Vajrasattva, gilt bronze (copper alloy with turquoise and coral), private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk/en/buy-and-sell/auctions/lot-listings/180/details/26960/?currencyType=USD.

15th century, (Tibet?), Vajrasattva, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk/en/buy-and-sell/auctions/lot-listings/180/details/26962/?currencyType=USD.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise, private collection, photo by Nagel https://www.auction.de.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise, clear gems and traces of cold gold, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu1.html .

16th century, Western Tibet, Vajrasattva, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Lempertz https://www.lempertz.com/en/catalogues/lot/1044-1/596-a-bronze-figure-of-vajrasattva-western-tibet-16th-century.html.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Lempertz https://www.lempertz.com/en/catalogues/lot/1034-1/119-a-gilt-bronze-figure-of-vajrasattva-tibet-16th-century.html.

16th-17th century, Tibet (labelled ‘Nepal’), Vajrasattva, bronze, private collection, photo by Casa Cambi d’Aste.

He usually has a half vajra finial on his head.

Tibet, Ratnasambhava (2)

Circa 12th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24265/lot/813/?category=list.

Strikingly similar to a 10th-11th century crowned Shakyamuni at the Ashmolean museum published some time ago (see below), this Pala style buddha wears a tall crown with long ribbons that curl up above the shoulders, a short necklace and earrings but not armbands, bracelets or anklets. The singular position of his right hand identifies him as Ratnasambhava rather than the historical buddha.

13th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, copper alloy with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com/uk/auction-0118/rara-ed-importante-figura-del-buddha-incoronat-4.asp.

Ratnasambhava normally holds his right hand open, in the gesture of supreme generosity and displays a gem (ratna). The above has silver-inlaid eyes, copper-inlaid lips and crown components, a tall Pala-style chignon dyed with lapis lazuli powder and topped with a spectacular flaming jewel finial, no urna. His long dhoti is decorated with a chased lotus pattern.

13th-14th century, Western Tibet, Ratnasambhava, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Koller.

The blue lotuses on each side of the figure help date this work. Like the previous buddha, he wears a particularly tall foliate crown and matching finial, perhaps to remind us that he belongs to higher spheres.

14th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, brass, at the Ngor monastery, photo from the Huntington Archive.

An Indo-tibetan figure with a large gem embossed in the palm of his right hand.

He wears a thin sash tightly drawn across his chest, decorated with an incised and stippled rice grain pattern.

16th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz https://www.lempertz.com/en/catalogues/lot/1101-1/561-a-tibetan-copper-alloy-figure-of-buddha-ratnasambhava-16th-century.html.

This one also has a gem embossed in the palm of his hand. His shoulders are covered with a small Chinese-style silk garment often described as a cape but made in one piece shaped like a cloud.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, bronze (brass) with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Seated on a throne supported by two lions and a yaksha, the back plate decorated on each side with an elephant, a lion, a young boy mounting a sharabha, a lotus bud, a makara, a naga king, and topped with a garuda.

15th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauctionhttps://www.polyauction.com.hk .

Ratnasambhava in his buddha appearance, seated on a lotus base with an incised rim, a gem incised in the palm of his hand.

 

Tibet, guardian kings

17th century, Tibet, Vaishravana, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller https://www.kollerauktionen.ch.

Vaishravana, guardian of the north and king of the yakshas, always has his mouth shut and, like the yaksha generals, he always has a jewel-spitting mongoose under his left arm. His right hand does the teaching gesture and holds a (missing) parasol. The above is seated on a lion who turns his head towards him and he wears kingly attire, as was the custom before the Mongolian armour became the norm.

The back of the lion is covered with a fine silk textile with an embroidered border similar to the shawl on his shoulders.

Undated (circa 15th century?), Central Tibet, Vaishravana, gilt copper alloy with cold gold, pigments and stones, private collection, item 7304 on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this Densatil or Densatil-style work, the worldly protector wears a Mongolian armour and felt boots.

17th century, Tibet, guardian king (labelled lokapala), gilt copper, private collection, photo by Au Lion des Neiges https://www.asianart.com/liondesneiges/3.html.

A different style, with a long swirling scarf, floral breast plates and a Kirtimukha medallion at the front of his coat of mail.

Late 17th century, Tibet, guardian king, bronze with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com.

This is probably Virupaksha, guardian of the west and king of the nagas, who sometimes holds a long snake in both hands.

18th century, Tibet, Virupaksha, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel https://www.auction.de.

Alternatively, he holds a stupa or a jewel in one hand and a snake (not visible here) in the other.

18th century, Tibet, Virupaksha, bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Nagel https://www.auction.de.

Late 17th century, Tibet, gilt bronze, Virudhaka (labelled ‘warrior’), private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com/uk/auction-0179-2/a-giltbronze-warrior-sculpture-tibet-late–5.asp.

Virudhaka, guardian of the south and king of the khumbandas, is the one who holds a sword.

18th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper repoussé, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2012/indian-southeast-asian-works-of-art/lot.348.html.

Whether standing or seated, Dhritarashtra, guardian of the east and king of the gandharvas, holds a lute.

14th century, Tibet, Densatil, Aparajita, gilt metal with stone inlay, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources https://www.himalayanart.org/items/22456.

Featured in the Guardian Kings section of the Himalayan Art Resources website, this male deity wears kingly attire and holds a long-life vase in both hands. The name Aparajita refers to various entities, one of them related to wealth giving.

14th century, Tibet, Densatil, unidentified, gilt metal with stone and coral inlay, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources .

Next to him on the same page, we find this other wealth-related deity who looks like Yellow Jambhala but for the triratna in his left hand (instead of a jewel-spitting mongoose).

Like the yellow form of Jambhala he has a lock of hair (urna) on his forehead rather than a third eye. There is a flaming jewel in his right hand.

 

Tibet, Vajrayogini – variants (5)

12th-13th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze, private collection, photo Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts.

Vajravarahi, a sow’s head protruding from her right temple, a flaying knife and skull cup in her hands, adorned with a three-skull crown, bone jewellery and a garland of severed heads, a flaming jewel on her chignon, standing on red Kalaratri who embodies ignorance.

14th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Hollywood Galleries on https://issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/the_touch_of_devotion______________.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze, private collection, photo Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu1109.html.

16th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt bronze and turquoise inlay, same as before http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu108.html.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze, private collection, photo by Dreweatts.

Undated, Eastern Tibet, (Vajravarahi, gilt metal with turquoise inlay), at the Dzamtang Tsangwa Monastery (Tibet), photo on Himalayan Art Resources https://www.himalayanart.org/items/8510

13th-14th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Hollywood Galleries https://issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/20170928_hollywood_galleries_gems_o .

She is thought to be the oldest form of Vajrayogini and always stands in a dancing pose, facing the viewer. The above is a singular example of her holding a miniature sow in her right hand and an axe in the other.

14th century, Tibet, Densatil, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24777/lot/42/.

We have seen quite a few Densatil or Densatil-style sculptures of Vajravarahi standing on a similar pedestal with scrolling vines, her celestial scarf forming a frame around her with loops at elbow level. The above is adorned with a garland of skulls, a skull crown, bone jewellery, cross-belt and apron, the latter with raining jewel pendants.

18th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini (labelled Sarvabuddha Dakini), private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke https://www.zacke.at/de/eintrag/9434/skulpturen-reliefs-himalaya-kulturkreis-die-sarvabuddha-dakini.

Vajrayogini in her Vajradakini form, still facing the viewer but without the sow’s head attached to her own.

15th century, Central Tibet, Vajrayogini, gilt copper alloy, private collection, item 61814 on Himalayan Art Resources.

In her Sarvabuddha Dakini form, always facing sideways, she raises a skull cup filled with menstrual blood to her lips and stands on one or two victims.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddha Dakini, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

16th century (Tibet or China), (Sarvabuddha) Dakini, gilt bronze, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk/en/buy-and-sell/auctions/lot-listings/147/details/21108/?currencyType=USD.

17th-18th century, Tibet, (Sarvabuddha) Dakini, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com/uk/auction-0118/dakini-danzante-su-base-a-fior-di-loto-in-bron-3.asp.

Known as Naro Khechara and various other names in Tibet, Sarvabuddha Dakini always looks sideways. She holds her flaying knife down and raises a skull cup filled with menstrual blood to her lips.

Tibet, lamas and their hats (2)

15th century, Tibet, Drikung Kagyu lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Andrew Lau for Hollywood Galleries https://issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/9-3-13_revised.

The Drigungpa hat is worn with the brim turned up, looking a bit like a sailor’s cap seen from the back, its front part quite tall and fan-shaped.

16th century, Tibet, Drukpa Kagyu lama, bronze with cold gold, private collection, photo by Nagel http://en.51bidlive.com/PreView/PreViewDetails/1262134.

Circa 17th century, Tibet or Bhutan, lama, bronze with turquoise inlay, traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Nagel http://en.51bidlive.com/PreView/PreViewDetails/1262186.

Late 17th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste https://www.cambiaste.com/uk/auction-0195-2/a-beautiful-gilt-bronze-lama-tibet-late-17th–2.asp?action=reset.

The Drugpa hat is similar but much taller at the back.

16th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, bronze (copper alloy), at the Dallas Museum of Art (USA).

This is a different style of hat, shaped like a lotus petal at the front and a large upturned brim, the crown topped with a finial.

15th-16th century, Tibet, lama, ‘probably Kunga Gyaltsen’, gilt wood, private collection, photo by Lempertz https://www.lempertz.com/en/catalogues/lot/1112-1/23-a-tibetan-black-lacquered-and-gilt-wooden-figure-of-a-sakya-lama-probably-kunga-gyaltsen-1182-1.html.

15th century, Tibet, Sakya hierarch, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Andrew Lau for Hollywood Galleries https://issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/20170928_hollywood_galleries_gems_o.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, lama, brass, private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts http://www.aaoarts.com/asie/enchtibet/tibscu1111.html.

A third type is the  pandita hat, usually worn with the long lappets falling over the shoulders.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhamshttps://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25115/lot/145/?category=list .

Here they are not visible.

16th century, Tibet, lama, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Hollywood Gallerieshttps://issuu.com/andrewlau2/docs/20170928_hollywood_galleries_gems_o .

This friendly character with a manuscript in his left hand is coiffed with a variant of the pandita hat which, seen sideways looks like a mitre. Jonang lamas used to wear such hats.