Tibet, Mahakala – Legden

14th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published by Sotheby's.

14th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy with pigment and stone inlay, published by Sotheby’s, now at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA) and published by Himalayan Art Resources.

Legden (‘Excellent One’) or Danda (‘stick’) is a form of Mahakala depicted with one head, three eyes and bare fangs, a moustache, beard and goatee, two hands and two legs. When standing, he normally carries a flat stick topped with a flaming jewel. This one held an object now missing (probably a stick) in one hand and carries a jewel in the other. He wears a long heavy pleated cloak tied with a belt and some boots, and is adorned with a skull crown held in place with flowing ribbons, a garland of freshly severed heads, a necklace and some round earrings. Some long strands of hair are resting over his shoulders while the rest of the hair stands upwards. It is normally painted in orange to imitate flames (see picture below). His right leg is slightly bent, the other one is stretched (over fire).

14th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy with pigment and turquoise inlay, at the Rubin Museum of Art.

14th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy with pigment and stone inlay, at the Rubin Museum of Art.

The flaming hair on this sculpture  is topped with a sun disc, a moon crescent and a finial which may represent a jewel.

same as before, private collection.

same as before, private collection.

This one has a half vajra finial on his head and seems to be holding a skull cup in one hand.

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