Tibet, Vajrabhairava and consort (2)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali, hollow cast brass, at the Alain Bordier Foundation.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali, hollow cast brass, at the Alain Bordier Foundation.

This meditational deity, a form of wrathful Manjushri with 9 heads, 34 hands, 16 legs, holds a skull cup and chopper in his main hands and 32 attributes in the others. He right legs stand on animals and gods, his left legs stand on birds and gods. He is adorned with a garland of freshly severed heads, skull crowns, snakes, a celestial scarf. His consort, Vajravetali, has one face and two hands, she holds a skull cup and chopper and wears a festooned beaded belt. They stand on a Nepalese-style double-lotus base.

17th century, Tibet, bronze and pigment, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

17th century, Tibet, bronze and pigment, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Rearview

Rearview

According to the scriptures, the nine heads may be stacked in three groups of three, or there may be one row of seven heads topped with another two heads. From the rearview of this sculpture, we can see that he has a row of seven heads (6 wrathful ones around a buffalo head) topped with a wrathful head then Manjushri’s head.  The heads all have three eyes and are adorned with a skull crown. The flaming hair is rising from the lower row of heads. There is an elephant hide stretched across the back of the deity.

17th century, Central Tibet, brass and pigment, private collection.

17th century, Central Tibet, brass and pigment, private collection.

Here the faces are painted with cold gold,  facial and other hair are painted with orange pigment, except for Manjushri’s hair which is blue.

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