Tibet, Dhritarashtra

This worldly protector or lokapala, is the guardian of the East and king of the Gandharvas. He is normally depicted dressed in armour and thick boots, standing or sitting, with a string instrument in his hands.

15th century, Tibet, lokapala Dhritarashtra, gilt copper, at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

15th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper, at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper alloy. Photo by Christie's.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper alloy. Photo by Christie’s.

The lokapala’s breast plates are shaped like lotus flowers. He holds a lute with a headstock shaped like a lion’s head. There is an inscription in Tibetan at the back that reads “guardian of the right tenth region”.

17th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper repoussé, published by Cornette auctions.

17th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper repoussé, published by Cornette auctions.

17th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, wood and cold gold, at the Basel Museum der Kulturen.

17th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, wood and cold gold, at the Basel Museum der Kulturen.

18th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper alloy plaque, private collection.

18th century, Tibet, Dhritarashtra, gilt copper alloy plaque, private collection.

The headstock of this instrument is shaped like a hook. The plain square cushion and  animal skin on which he sits are often found on 18th century Tibetan seated figures.

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