Tibet, Vajrapani – Mahacakra

Apart from the one-head two-hand  wrathful Vajrapani seen in a previous post, many sculptures of this deity show him in his Mahacakra/Mahachakra form, with 3 heads, 4 to 6 hands, 2 legs treading on 2 victims, holding in two of his hands  a very long snake caught in his main mouth, in the manner of a garuda. Often accompanied by his consort (who holds a skull cup and a flaying knife and has a leg wrapped around him), he holds a thunderbolt or vajra in one of his right hands and has a vajra-handled bell (or a raised finger as below) in one of his left hands. He may have a garuda on his head (see last picture).

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and pigment, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and pigment, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

His hair, gathered into a thick bunch, is sometimes topped with half-vajra, as above, or with a flaming jewel, as below. When he has six hands, two of them are held in front of him, palm out, the right one in a fear-allaying gesture and the left one cupped, as if to hold an object.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with cold gold on the faces and pigment, at the Patan Museum (Nepal).

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with cold gold on the faces and pigment, at the Patan Museum (Nepal).

When he is alone, we can clearly see how he holds the snake between his fangs.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and pigment, private colleciton.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay and pigment, private collection.

Like any other wrathful Vajrapani, he is adorned with a tiger skin loin cloth, snakes, and jewellery.

Undated, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

 

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