Tibet, three 18th c. Vajradaka sculptures

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, at the San Diego Museum of Art.

18th century, Tibet, Vajradaka, gilt copper alloy, at the San Diego Museum of Art, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Vajradaka, an emanation of buddha Akshobhya, wears a tiger skin and holds a thunderbolt and bell crossed over his chest. He has three eyes and an open mouth with four fangs. Sometimes standing, usually squatting, adorned with a garland of freshly severed heads, a skull crown, bone jewellery and a celestial scarf, this meditational deity is related to fire rituals for purification and the sculptures are usually the upper part of something similar to an incense burner. The lower part, in the form of a tripod or a hollow base, is often missing. Black sesame seeds are burnt inside and the smoke comes out of the gaping mouth.

Vajradaka, Tibeto-chinese, 18th c., copper alloy, 13 cm, Sotheby's

18th century, Tibet, Chinese artist, copper alloy, private collection.

Vajradaka, Tibet, 18th c., bronze, traces of gilding, 28 cm

18th century, Tibet, dark bronze with traces of gilding, Rubin Museum of Art.



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