Himachal Pradesh, Vajravidarana

10th-11th century, Himachal Pradesh, Vajravidarana, silver with bronze and copper inlay, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

10th-11th century, Himachal Pradesh (or Western Tibet?), Vajravidarana, silver with bronze and copper inlay, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

Although this sculpture is labelled ‘Amoghasiddhi’, it is more likely a representation of a meditational deity called Vajravidarana, whose iconography is similar to that of supreme buddha Vajrasattva but with a double thunderbolt or visvajra in his right hand. The facial features, lobed abdomen and cruciform navel along with marked pectorals are typical of Kashmir. The small three-pointed crown with large bows sticking out is often seen on Ladakhi or West Tibetan statues. The long flat hair ribbons  and upward flowing scarf  ending in  a three-point shape can be seen on other Himachal Pradesh works produced at the same time. The double lotus base is reminiscent of earlier Swat Valley works but the plinth is typical of Kashmir (although not the  garuda bird at the front, known as khyung in Tibet). Of course, the base may have belonged to a different statue originally. By way of comparison, the following is a strikingly similar sculpture thought to have been made in Western Tibet at more or less the same time. The pectorals cannot be seen as the statue is wearing a sort of waistcoat but it is obvious that the chest is not as developed and that the facial features are different. Amoghasiddhi always holds his left hand in the meditation gesture whereas Vajravidarana holds a bell against his hip, as above.

10th-11th century, Western Tibet, bodhisattva, silver, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

10th-11th century, Western Tibet, bodhisattva, silver, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

 

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