Tibet, Yamantaka

11th century circa, Tibet, Yamantaka, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

11th century circa, Tibet, Manjushri Yamantaka, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

Yamantaka (the enemy of Yama/death), an emanation of Manjushri, is identified beyond doubt on this rare and very old sculpture through an inscription on the base that says ‘Manjushri Yamantaka’. The deity may have one head, 2 hands and 2 legs, or 3 to 6 heads, 6 to 10 hands, 2 to 6 legs. Here, he is shown with five heads plus Manjushri’s head at the top, 2 legs and 12 hands, from which most attributes are missing except for a thunderbolt or vajra and a wheel of dharma. He is adorned with cobra snakes and a tiger or leopard skin loin cloth, lotus earrings, and 5 crowns which feature the 5 cosmic or dyani buddhas.

15th century, Tibet, Yamantaka and consort, copper alloy and pigment, photo by arcimboldo.cz

15th century, Tibet, Yamantaka and consort, copper alloy and pigment, on arcimboldo.cz

This is an equally rare sculpture of Yamantaka, with three heads, six arms, two legs, and his consort, Vajravetali, who has one heads, six arms and two feet.

15th c., Tibet, Yamantaka and consort, c.a.+pig., close up

The heads have three eyes, flaming hair joined into one bunch, bared fangs. They are adorned with skull crowns.

 

18th century, Tibet, Yamantaka, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's.

18th century, Tibet, Yamantaka, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

This more modern version shows him standing on a prostrate bull over a human victim, with one head and four hands, adorned with a garland of skulls and a Chinese-style festooned belt and upward-flying ribbons holding a skull crown.

 

 

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