Tibet, Ghantapani

15th century, Tibet, Ghantapani, gilt copper alloy on a copper repoussé base, private collection

15th century, Tibet, Ghantapani, gilt copper alloy on a copper repoussé base, private collection

Ghantapani is the name given to Vajrasattva’s consort, but some texts refer to his consort as Vajrasattvamika and regard Ghantapani as their bodhisattva, which would explain why some sculptures depict this deity alone.  This statue was made in the ‘Yongle style’* but the wide face with a gentle and serene expression is typically Tibetan. Ghantapani has a lotus flower and foliage attached to each elbow, one is supporting a vajra or thunderbolt sceptre, the other a ghanta (bell).

* The 15th century  Chinese emperor called Yongle was very interested in Tibetan buddhism. This influenced Tibetan art because artists made statues that corresponded to the Chinese taste. The thin waist contrasting with a very wide dhoti without cuffs, the long scarf swirling at hip level before resting against the knees, the shape of the foliage and the narrow panels of the crown are all indicators of the Yongle style.

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