Tibet, Vajrapani odd forms

11th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

11th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This very rare statue probably depicts Acarya Vajrapani, a worldly protector with a human form, snake ornaments, one face, with two or three eyes, two hands, one which is uplifted and holds a vajra. He normally stands on a corpse, dishevelled, and may also hold a bell and a lasso.

11th c., Tibet, Vajrapani Acarya, close up

He has snake adornments, a snake sacred cord, and a snake headband in his raised hair.

13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy and cold gold, at the gTsug Lakhang, as before.

13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, cold gold, pigment, at the gTsug Lakhang, as before.

This is another rare representation of Vajrapani, probably in his Achala/Acala form, which normally has four heads, four arms, holding a sword, a lasso, a thunderbolt and a skull cup, and four legs that tread on two demons. Here, we can see six arms, holding a thunderbolt  and a bell, a sword and a lasso, a skull cup and another object, the upper hands also hold the hide of an animal stretched across his back. His tiger skin loin cloth is hanging with the head of the animal at the front. The lotus base is on an Indian-style pedestal imitating a tortoise.

10th-11th century, Tibet or Nepal, Vajrapani, bronze, private collection.

10th-11th century, Tibet or Nepal, Vajrapani, bronze, private collection.

This form of Krodha (wrathful) Vajrapani, protector of the Nagas,  has one head and 4  hands, two of them folded at heart level, the other two holding a thunderbolt and a lasso. He is adorned with snakes and a tiger skin loin cloth, and stands over a corpse (missing) with the right leg bent. He normally has three eyes, flaming hair, an orange moustache, bared fangs, a curled tongue, a skull crown and a garuda in his headdress. The above figure has a snake crown.

13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with traces of gilding, on gg-art.com

13th century (or later copy?), Tibet, Vajrapani Krodha, copper alloy with traces of gilding, on gg-art.com

This sculpture shows him with a garuda in his chignon (complete with serpent or naga in its beak) and a garuda pendant, holding a thunderbolt and a bell.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani Krodha, bronze, at the Newark Museum (USA).

16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani Krodha, brass, at the Newark Museum (USA).

This curious Vajrapani Krodha is wearing a gown (of blue silk, according to the scriptures) instead of his usual tiger skin loin cloth.

16th c., Tibet, Vajrapani Krodha, human hide

On close inspection, we can see that the tiger skin is on his back (both paws rest on his shoulders), together with a flayed human skin.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, stones missing, private collection.

16th century (or later?), Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, stones missing, private collection.

Above and below, Vajrapani has an extra animal hide (tiger or leopard), over his back. This is not unusual in itself, but normally two of the paws rest on his shoulders and the others are at the back.

17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's.

17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

Here the head of the animal sticks out under his arm and the tail shows on the other side, while some larger paws appear on each side of his legs and the paws of the tiger skin he uses as a loin cloth rest on the pedestal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s