Tibet, 2 Achala stone steles

12th-13th century, Tibet, Achala, painted gypsum, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Achala, painted gypsum, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This small stele (probably part of a portable shrine) represents Achala, with three eyes and bared fangs, kneeling on a single lotus base with thick beading, and brandishing a flaming sword in his right hand while holding a lasso in the other. His flaming hair, raised in a mitre-like shape, is adorned with a half-vajra, and he is wearing bone jewellery instead of the usual skull crown, severed heads and snakes, and a striped dhoti instead of a tiger skin loin cloth. A flaming mandorla (arch of heaven) forms the back of the stele.

13th century, Tibet, Achala, painted stone, at the Alain Bordier Foundation.

13th century, Tibet, Achala, painted stone, at the Alain Bordier Foundation.

This brightly painted Nepalese-style sculpture represents Achala with a blue skin, wearing an elaborate crown topped with a half-vajra, a knee-length striped dhoti held in place with an embroidered belt, a small flowing scarf and embroidered jewellery. He is kneeling on a double-lotus base with a small character at the front (that may represent the donor of the statue). The  flaming mandorla behind him is richly decorated in the manner of embossed copper mandorlas and painted with red and gold pigment.

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