Tibet, Shri Hevajra

Hevajra is meditational deity who has several forms. Most sculptures depict him in his Shri/Sri Hevajra form, with 8 faces, each with three eyes, four bared fangs, frowning brows, flaming hair topped with a double thunderbolt or visvajra, wearing a skull crown and a garland of severed heads. He stands on four legs, two in a dancing posture and two trampling a corpse each (which represent ignorance and ego). He has 16 hands, holding 16 skull cups containing human and animal figures related to different mantras from the Hevajra Tantra text. His main pair of hands embraces his consort, Vajra Nairatmya (who holds a flaying knife and a skull cup) and holds skull cups containing the god of Earth and an elephant. The other skull cups on the left hold the god of water, the god of fire, the god of art, the god of the Moon, the god of the Sun, Yama, and on the right they hold a horse, a donkey, a bull, a camel, a human being, a deer, a cat (or an owl).

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

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

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, pigment, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, pigment, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

 

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