Kashmir, a 12-arm Chakrasamvara

9th-10th century, Kashmir, meditational deity Chakrasamvara, brass, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

9th-10th century, Kashmir, Chakrasamvara, brass, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This meditational deity, also known as Heruka (a semi-wrathful guardian of the faith) is represented in his 12-arm form. He has four heads, each with three eyes and four fangs, 2 legs, and 12 hands. Ten of them are holding various attributes such as a drum, knife, skull cup, axe, thunderbolt, bell, chopper, trident, lasso, sword, the other two hold the skin of an elephant stretched behind him like a cloak. He stands on two deities (Bhairava and Kalaratri), and his wearing a skull crown, a garland of 50 freshly severed heads, a tiger skin loincloth, and bone jewellery. For more information on the significance of each attribute see the Himalayan Art Resources website (link in left-hand column of this page) and <www.khandro.net>, amongst others.

The facial features of the characters and the lobed abdomen of Chakrasamvara are typical of Kashmiri works, along with the use of brass. The lotus base over a rocky formation supported by a plinth is quite singular.

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2 thoughts on “Kashmir, a 12-arm Chakrasamvara

    • Yes, there is something very harmonious about this particular sculpture so full of symbols. I think it is partly to do with the shape of the elephant hide behind him and partly with the fact that the whole composition is totally asymmetrical yet perfectly balanced.

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