Tibet, Vajrapani – Bhutadamara

Another wrathful form of Vajrapani is called bhutadamara (‘Subduer of demons’). This tantric form of the deity has one head with three eyes, four hands, two legs treading on a single victim. He wears a tiger skin loin cloth, snake adornments, a garland of severed heads, a skull crown and he may have a dragon in his headdress (as on the Chinese-style sculpture below).

Undated, Tibet, Vajrapani, brass, at the American Museum of National History.

Undated, Tibet, Vajrapani, brass, at the American Museum of National History.

His main hands make a gesture of protection (known as bhutadamara  mudra) at heart level, the other right hand holds a thunderbolt, the remaining left hand holds a noose, the index finger pointing upwards. On paintings, the right hands may be holding a drum and a flaying knife, the left hands a skull cup and a trident.

17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with cold gold and pigment, on gg-art.com.

17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with cold gold and pigment, on gg-art.com.

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