Tibet, Kalachakra and Visvamata

14th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

14th -15th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, private collection

The tantric deity Kalachakra, has four heads, each with three eyes and adorned with skull crowns. In his 24 hands he holds various implements, some of which are missing. He wears a tiger skin as a loin cloth and stands on two hindu deities known as Kamadeva and Rudra. Two of his arms embrace his consort, Visvamata (or Kalachakri/Kalichakra), who has four heads and 8 arms. The  lower part of the double-lotus base is incised with a scroll motif.

14th century, Tibet, Kalachakra and consort, gilt copper alloy inlaid with turquoise, at the New South Wales Gallery.

14th century, Tibet, Kalachakra and consort, gilt copper alloy inlaid with turquoise, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The two deities are wearing a garland of 50 freshly severed heads which drop below the tiger skin loin cloth. Parts of the sculpture are broken or missing but, traditionally, the 24 implements he holds are a thunderbolt or vajra, a sword, a trident, a curved knife, a flaming arrow, a hook, some  drums, a hammer, a wheel, a spear, a stick, an axe, a bell, a shield, a staff, a skull cup, a bow, a lasso, a jewel, a lotus, a conch shell, a mirror, a chain, and the head of Brahma.

17th c., gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, photo by Christie's.

17th c., gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, photo by Christie’s.

His hair is gathered and topped with a half vajra and a crescent moon. The base of the statue is missing.

 

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