Tibet, Achala (5)

Achala, is always represented with one head (usually with three eyes and bared fangs), two arms (his right hand holding a sword above his head) and two legs. He may be standing or kneeling and is adorned with a tiger skin loin cloth, small snakes as bracelets and anklets, a long snake as a sacred cord, a celestial scarf and jewellery. He often has an effigy of a buddha in his headdress. When standing, one knee slightly bent, the other leg stretched out, he usually treads on Ganapati/Ganesh (an elephant-headed deity of Hindu origin). His left hand  may hold a lasso or make a symbolical gesture. When kneeling, he kneels on his left side while his right leg supports him. (When depicted in the blue form he has blue hair and princely jewellery).

11th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, private collection.

11th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, private collection.

On this sober Indian-style sculpture, his celestial scarf looks like a snake. He is otherwise wearing a bone necklace, sacred cord and belt, no bracelets or anklets.

13th century, Tibet, bronze, Achala, photo by Christie's.

13th century, Tibet, bronze, Achala, photo by Christie’s.

As can be seen here, he sometimes treads on two elephant-headed victims instead of one.

13th century, Tibet, Achala, gilt metal, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

13th century, Tibet, Achala, gilt metal, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This Nepalese-style lotus base includes a small Ganapati crushed by his knee.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, photo by Mossgreen auctions.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, photo by Mossgreen auctions.

On the above statue, the legs of the tiger and the knot of his loincloth are hanging between his legs. His mass of curly hair has been painted with red pigment and his face with cold gold. He is resting on a tall (Pala-style) lotus base. There is no victim under him. The thin celestial scarf forms an arch around him.

14th century, Tibet, Achala, brass and pigment, on gg-art.com

14th century, Tibet, Achala, brass and pigment, on gg-art.com

We can see the effigy of a buddha on his head. On 13th to 14th century sculptures, his hair is often gathered in a mitre-like shape, sometimes painted with orange or red pigment. Both feet are treading on Ganapati, otherwise known as Vignaya Raja or Vignayaka Raja ‘the king of hindrances’.

14th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, photo by Christie's.

14th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, photo by Christie’s.

 

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