Tibet, Virupaksha

Virupaksha, one of the four worldly protectors or lokapalas, is the guardian of the West and king of the Nagas. He is always depicted in armour and wearing thick boots but his headdress varies. He holds a stupa or a jewel in his right hand and a snake in the other.

13th century, Tibet, lokapala Virupaksha, brass, private collection.

13th century, Tibet, lokapala Virupaksha, brass, photo by Koller Auctions.

This early example has curious body proportions, with the head much bigger and the arms much longer than would be expected. The absence of gilding or stone inlay, the style of his garments, the absence of a celestial scarf, the facial features all help dating the item to a relatively early period.

15th century, Tibet, Virupaksha, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

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

On this richly gilt and stone inlaid sculpture, the face has been painted with cold gold and pigments, probably at a much later date. His cloak fans out behind him and reaches down to the lotus base on which he stands.

15th century, Tibet, Virupaksha, gilt copper inlaid with stones, at Musée Guimet (Paris).

15th century, Tibet, Virupaksha, gilt copper inlaid with stones, at Musée Guimet (Paris).

The stupa and snake are visible on the above example.

17th century, Tibet, Virupaksha, painted wood,

17th century, Tibet, Virupaksha, painted wood, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Tibet, Densatil Monastery, Virupaksha, at the Beijing Museum.

Tibet, Densatil Monastery, Virupaksha, at the Beijing Museum.

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