Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – standing (21)

All posts on Avalokiteshvara in the Tibetan section of this blog are being updated (corrections, new links, further information, better images in some cases, etc.).

11th-12th century, Tibet, Padmapani Lokeshvara, copper alloy, private collection, photo on aaoarts, lot 85.

Inspired by Indian Pala sculpture, the artist has depicted Avalokiteshvara with a tall braided chignon topped with a lotus finial, adorned with a low crown, jewellery, and a festooned belt with lotus bud pendants. He stands between two lotuses – the one on his right is an utpala and it supports a lotus flower with a bud emerging from its centre. The other side is unclear, all we can see is that his left hand is empty and that it has an embossed lotus in its palm.

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Padmapani Lokeshvara, wood, private collection, photo on aaoarts, lot 86.

A curious image of the bodhisattva of compassion wearing a pleated skirt and a floral belt. His right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity holds a rosary, the other clutches the long stem of an open lotus.

15th-16th c., Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, gilt bronze, 24,5 cm, Amitabha on head, Chinese topknot, see Maitreya, Millner Manolatos, Asian A. London 2006, fall season, Millner Manolatos, on asianart

15th-16th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, gilt bronze, private collection, photo Millner Manolatos on asianart.com

Avalokiteshvara  with a Chinese-style topknot topped with an effigy of buddha Amitabha, and a tiny antelope skin over his left shoulder. This sculpture is feaurted on the above site with a similar one of Maitreya, also with an antelope skin over his left shoulder but with different attributes.

18th-19th c., Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, ivory+wood, 16 cm, EA2006.143 Jameel Centre, Ashmolean M

18th-19th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, ivory and wood, item EA2006.143 at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

Tibet, Naga Kings (6)

13th century, Tibet, Densatil, nagarajas, gilt copper alloy, photo in article by JL Estournel on asianart.com, at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

Unlike most similar naga kings seen so far, these two wear a sash or scarf across their chest (rather than a cross-belt) and a long necklace on top. 

Circa 1386, Tibet, Densatil, nagaraja, gilt copper alloy, photo after Gilles Béguin, from the same article, Fig. 150.

This one has no sash or cross-belt across his chest but a long sacred cord. He is surrounded by nagas seated inside lotus tendrils.

Circa 1407-1408, Tibet, Densatil, nagaraja, copper alloy, photo from an exhibition at Dunhuang Academy, from the same article by Jean-Luc Estournel 

Circa 1431-1435, Densatil, Tibet, nagaraja, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, Fig. 306 in the same article on asianart.com.

We saw an almost identical naga king, also published by Nagel, without stone replacement. According to the above article, this is a different one. He wears a cross-belt and a necklace. The sash across his thighs is decorated with a large turquoise-inlaid rice grain motif.

Circa 1431-1435, Densatil, Tibet, nagaraja, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, Fig. 256 in the same article.

A different arrangement, consisting in three necklaces (short, medium-size, and long), as on most works made in the Kathmandu Valley during the Malla period (for bodhisattvas and any other figure with princely jewellery, such as naga kings). Compare with an almost identical one on HAR.

Tibet, Amoghasiddhi (6)

All the posts on Amoghasiddhi in the Tibetan section of the blog have been updated (typing and other errors corrected, duplicated images removed, further information and links added, and a few photos have been substituted with better ones.)

Circa 1386, Tibet, Densatil, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo from an article by Jean-Luc Estournel Estournel, Fig. 175.

Quite a few sculptures from the Densatil monastery include a squarish plinth decorated with various themes. This one has a kinnara and a kinnari at the front (see close up on the above link). Amoghasiddhi is depicted in his princely appearance, his left hand in the gesture of meditation, the other making the gesture of debate (instead of the fear-allaying gesture normally associated with him). His crown, which has a small Kirtimukha below the central flower, and his jewellery are richly inlaid with small turquoise, lapis lazuli, and coral (or red stone replacement) cabochons in the Tibetan fashion.

Circa 1431-1435, Tibet, Densatil, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo from the same article, Fig. 278.

16th century?, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, bronze with turquoise (labelled ‘coral’), private collection, photo on HAR .

The last of a set of wisdom buddhas from a private collection published on HAR, with a Chinese-style shawl that wraps the arms and forms loops at elbow level, this one labelled ‘1500-1599’, Akshobhya labelled ‘1400-1499’, the other two without date (Vairocana not featured).

Tibet, various paired deities (5)

Circa 1370, Tibet, Densatil, Mahamaya, gilt copper alloy, according to an article on Densatil by Jean-Luc Estournel, at the Dayton Art Institutein Ohio (USA) (where it is labelled ‘Tibeto-Chinese’) .

Mahamaya, a meditational deity and the embodiment of a tantric text of the same name, stands in embrace with his consort, Buddhadakini. They have 4 heads, 4 arms, and 2 legs, and hold the same attributes: a bow, an arrow, a ritual staff (rather bent in this case), a skull cup.

Circa 1434, Tibet, Densatil, Buddhakapala, gilt copper alloy, photo here from the same article by JL Estournel.

Buddhakapala, a meditational deity and emanation of Akshobhya, stands on a corpse and embraces his consort, Citrasena. He has one head with three eyes, and four hands, in which he holds a flaying knife, a skull cup, a drum, a ritual staff (with a particularly large trisula at the end). She is naked and adorned with bone jewellery, a skull crown, and a bone apron, he has a tiger skin loin cloth, bone jewellery, a skull crown. Instead of wearing a garland of severed heads for him and a garland of skulls for her, they seem to share a long string of severed heads.

15th century, Tibet, Kalachakra, metal, photo on HAR, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

Kalachakra, a meditational deity with four heads, each with a third eye, two legs, and usually 24 arms. He treads on Hindu deities Kamadeva and Rudra, in embrace with his consort, Vishvamata, also known as Kalachakri or Kalichakra. His attributes are likely to be: an axe, a stick, a spear, a wheel, a hammer, a drum, a hook, an arrow, a flaying knife, a trident, a sword, a vajra sceptre in his right hands, a skull cup, a ritual staff, a shield, a bell, a lotus, a jewel, a lasso, a bow, Brahma’s head, a chain, a mirror, a conch shell in his left hands (not necessarily in this order).

Tibet, Guhyasamaja – retinue figures

Circa 1360, Tibet, Densatil, Amitabha aspect of the Guhyasamaja retinue, gilt copper alloy, photo after Huang Chunhe from an article on Densatil by Jean-Luc Estournel, at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

This princely figure with three heads, each with three eyes, and six arms (see close up on the above link) holds a lotus and a sword in his upper hands, the stem of a lotus supporting a dharma wheel and a vajra bell in his main hands, a lotus supporting an object difficult to identify in his middle left hand, the sixth attribute is broken.

Circa 1407-1408, Tibet, Densatil, Amitabha aspect of the Guhyasamaja retinue, gilt copper alloy, photo as above, Fig. 245, at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

In his middle right hand this one holds a lotus topped with a small vajra sceptre and in the left one he has a lotus topped with a triple gem (triratna).

Circa 1386, Tibet, Densatil, Ratnasambhava from the Guhyasamaja retinue possibly, gilt copper alloy, photo Michael Henss from the same article, Fig. 182.

Also with three heads (but no third eye) and six arms, this character holds his attributes directly in his hands: a dharma wheel, a vajra sceptre, a sword, a vajra bell, the lower right hand is cupped as if to hold an object such as a visvajra, a triple gem or a vase, the middle right hand holds the stem  of a broken lotus or the handle of a broken implement.

The following were published with sculptures of Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja. In the light of Jean-Luc Estournel’s work the information needs updating and, since they are definitely retinue figures, they have been moved to this post.

14th century, Tibet, six-armed yidam, possibly Akshobhyavajra or a retinue figure, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Sotheby’sUpdate: Circa 1434, Densatil, Vairocana from the Guhyasamaja retinue, Fig.332 in the aforesaid article.

Unlike Akshobhyavajra, this three-headed figure is alone. He holds a wheel and a bell in the main hands, a lotus  and a vajra sceptre in the remaining right hands, a sword and a flaming jewel in the other left hands. He is seated on a single lotus atop a cut-out throne supported by two lions and decorated with a vase containing scrolling lotuses.

16th century, Tibet, Guhyasamaja retinue figure? (labelled ‘Amoghasiddhi’), gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, 2015.  

Update: Circa 1434, Densatil, deity from the Guhyasamaja retinue, Fig. 331 from the aforesaid article.

A similar character, holding a sword and a bell in the main hands, a wheel and a flaming jewel in the upper hands, a vajra sceptre and a lotus flower in the lower hands. seated on a single lotus over a throne decorated with studded leaves, an embossed visvajra (associated with Amoghasiddhi and a few more deities), foliage and thick beading, the plinth finely incised with a floral motif.

This single figure also has the effigy of a buddha behind his crown.

14th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, gilt copper with gems and painted details, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s Update: circa 1360, Densatil, probable aspect of Ratnasambhava, Fig. 84 in the aforesaid article.

A Nepalese-style three-head and six-arm deity holding a triple gem and a bell in his main hands, a sword and broken implements in the others. The lower part of the lotus throne is decorated with visvajras surrounded with foliage, and upright vajras in between. Sotheby’s tell us that he has a tiny effigy of Akshobhya behind the central panel of his crown. We have seen several Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja retinue figures with a similar iconography but none with a triratna in one of the main hands. Although wisdom buddhas don’t normally have more than two hands Sotheby’s suggest that this is a form of Ratnasambhava seen in the thirty-two deity Guhyasamaja mandala.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Jnanadakini, gilt copper, private collection, photo on Koller Update: circa 1431-1432, Densatil, bodhisattva from the Guhyasamaja retinue, Fig. 286 in the same article.

14th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, photo by Christie's.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja, gilt copper alloy, photo by Christie’s.Update: definitely a retinue figure.

This rare sculpture depicts the deity without his consort or, more likely, a retinue figure with the same attributes.

Tibet, plaques from Densatil (3)

Circa 1267, Tibet, Densatil, offering goddesses, gilt copper alloy, photo in an article by Jean-Luc Estournel(Fig. 24), at the Museo d’Arte Orientale in Turin (Italy).

Each of these elegant four-armed ladies holds a ritual staff and a skull cup in her left hands, a drum in her lower right hand, and a different attribute in the upper one. They wear a headband or diadem with three large flowers, matching earrings, a jewelled necklace, beaded armbands, bracelets and anklets. Their wear different-length dhotis held in place with a sash showing on the sides.

Circa 1267, Tibet, Densatil, offering goddesses, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi in the above article (Fig.25).

Here the sash hangs like an apron at the front. They wear a diadem or crown with five flowers.

Circa 1267, Tibet, Densatil, offering goddesses, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s in the above article (Fig.23).

This group, very similar in style, makes a symbolic gesture with one hand instead of clutching the staff, which is held under the wrist. The design of the crown is yet again different.

Circa 1267, Tibet, Densatil, offering goddesses, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Beaussant Lefèvre in the above article (Fig.22)

A variant, with each set of upper hands in a different position.

Circa 1370, Tibet, Densatil, offering goddesses, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s in the above article (Fig. 101).

Now they have three necklaces, short, medium, and long.

Tibet, Vajravayogini (9)

Circa 1267, Tibet, Densatil, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy, photo from an article on Densatil by JL Estournel, at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

Vajravarahi, with a large sow’s head emerging from her right temple, standing in a dancing pose on a victim, brandishing a flaying knife and holding a skull cup before her heart, and a ritual staff against her left shoulder. She is naked and adorned with a festooned skull crown, a matching necklace, other bone accessories including a festoon apron and a cross-belt, a garland of severed heads, a flowing celestial scarf secured with rods.

14th century, Tibet, Densatil, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy, photo here from the same article by JL Estournel, (Fig. 130), private collection?

Circa 1360, Tibet, Densatil, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy, photo from the Olivier Comes archives in the same article by Jean-Luc Estournel(Fig. 90).

The loops formed by her celestial scarf are often slightly different on one side, and on occasions there is only one. In this case, it is twisted at the level of her left elbow and has jewelled pendants at the ends and at the sides. As pointed out by the author, the diversity of styles (including for a same subject) shows that works made around the same period were commissioned from different workshops. His impressive catalogue raisonné also shows that the date for works published in previous posts could be different from the date given by museums and auction houses (all posts on Vajrayogini will be updated accordingly in the near future).

15th century (circa 1407-1408), Tibet, Densatil, Vajrayogini, gilt copper alloy, photo in the same article by JL Estournel (Fig. 249).

When she doesn’t have a sow’s head attached to her own she is known as Vajradakini, or simply Vajrayogini. The iconography is otherwise the same as for Vajravarahi.

15th century (circa 1407-1408), Tibet, Densatil, Vajrayogini, (parcel) gilt copper alloy, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, (Fig. 220 in the aforesaid article).

18th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddhadakini, bronze, private collection, photo on Christie’s, (labelled ‘China’ on HAR).

Almost identical to another with a headband and flowing ribbons (not painted with cold gold in this case) seen on here , this figure is easily identified as Sarvabuddhadakini (Naro dakini in Tibet) as she always has her right arm down while the other is held towards her face, to drink from the skull cup it normally holds and towards which her gaze is directed.

Tibet, various female deities (13)

Circa 1386, Tibet, Densatil, Dhvajagrakeyura, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo after Sotheby’s in an article on Densatil by Jean-Luc Estournel (Fig. 165).

We are told in the above article that this eight-arm deity, thought to be Dhvajagrakeyura (see on wisdomlib and HAR ) has four heads. She holds a broken attribute, a bow, a jewelled lotus, the hilt of a (broken) sword in her right hands, an arrow, another broken object, a (partly broken) lasso, and a vajra-tipped implement? in her left hands.

 

Circa 1360, Tibet, Densatil, Chunda?, gilt copper alloy, photo from the same article by Jean-Luc Estournel (Fig. 69), at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

Chunda, the embodiment of a mantra, has one head and four arms (or 16 to 18 on paintings). In the Himalayas she may hold a rosary and a book in her upper hands and a vase in the main ones, or a club, a lotus, a knife, staff, or a vajra sceptre, a book, a rosary, a bowl. The above holds a lotus and a triple gem on a lotus in her upper hands, a vajra sceptre pointing to her heart in her lower right hand, the left one makes a gesture to bestow refuge. She has a third eye and is adorned with a crown and princely jewellery. We saw a similar deity from Densatil labelled ‘Chunda’ (Fig. 26) in the same article but ‘Pancha Raksha’ on HAR (where she is dated 1500-1599).

Circa 1370, Tibet, Densatil, Chunda?, gilt copper alloy, photo on HAR, Fig. 104 in the above article, at the Tibet Museum in Lhasa.

A similar character with a vajra sceptre pointing to her heart and a rosary in her lower hands, the stem of a (broken) lotus and a triple gem on a lotus in her upper ones.

Tibet, Vairocana (15)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Vairocana, bronze, private collection, photo on buddhist-art.

Depicted in his bodhisattva appearance, Vairocana, whose function is to protect against delusion, is making the gesture of supreme enlightenment at heart level. 

14th century, Tibet, Densatil, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, photo from an article on Densatil by Jean-Luc Estournel (Fig. 357), at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

14th century (circa 1370) , Tibet, Densatil, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, photo here from the same article by JL Estournel (Fig. 111), at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

14th century (circa 1360), Tibet, Densatil, Vairocana, gilt copper repoussé, photo here from the same article by JL Estournel (Fig. 352).

This embossed petal is richly decorated with Vairocana in his four-head form (the fourth is not visible), seated on a lotus throne supported by two lions and Kirtimukha, flanked by two standing attendants. They are surrounded by scrolling lotuses and the back of his throne features sharabhas, makaras, a garuda, and two seated figures who look like emanations of himself. 

Tibet, Mahakala – Panjarnata (5)

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Indian school, Panjara Mahakala, brass , is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published here by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Adorned with snakes, a garland of human heads, a skull crown, large floral earrings and a matching necklace, Mahakala squats on a victim atop a lotus base, holding a flaying knife and a skull cup before his heart. His three eyes and his mouth are inlaid with copper and silver to give him a ferocious look, reminding us that he is here to protect the dharma. His tiger skin dhoti is held in place with a belt with raining jewel pendants that drop elegantly at the front and on the sides. His scallop-shape hair is topped with a half-vajra finial.

Circa 1360, Tibet, Densatil, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, photo in an article by Jean-Luc Estournel on Densatil (Fig. 60), at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

A different style, with vacant eyes and long fangs, a festooned crown and necklace, additional jewellery inlaid with stones, a celestial scarf. His flaying knife has a large vajra handle.