Tibet, an early Vajrasphota statue

11th-12th century, Tibet, Vajrasphota (Diamond Chain), silver with copper inlay and traces of pigment,  copper alloy base and mandorla, Nyingjei Lam collection, published by Himalayan Art Resources.

11th-12th century, Tibet, Vajrasphota (Diamond Chain), silver with copper inlaid nipples, traces of pigment, a copper alloy base and mandorla, Nyingjei Lam collection, published by Himalayan Art Resources.

This Kashmiri-style statue represents the deity Vajrasphota, his hair raised and adorned with coiled snakes and a skull crown, a chain  between his hands, a garland of severed heads around his neck and some snakes worn as jewellery. There is a one-piece mandorla behind him with flames incised in the Kashmiri fashion. It is shaped like an arch on the outside and a keyhole on the inside, an interesting feature as unusual as the serrated base supporting the lotus on which he stands. The uneven edges above and below the central plinth imitate the rock formation  seen on some 7th to 9th century bases from Kashmir, Gilgit or the Swat Valley. These odd elements and the use of cold gold on the face and blue pigment in the hair indicate that the statue was made in Western Tibet.

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