Tibet, Amitabha

Amitabha is normally depicted seated, his hands cupped to hold a begging bowl (often missing), in buddha appearance, but there are exceptions…

Undated, Tibet, Amitabha, bronze with cold gold and pigment, photo by

Undated, Tibet, labelled Amitabha, bronze with cold gold and pigment, photo by Bachman Eckenstein.

Some time ago, we saw a rare Amitabha from Western Tibet, standing, and in bodhisattva appearance. If the above had a begging bowl in his hands we would know for certain that it is Amitabha. Alternatively, it could be Amitayus whose long-life vase is missing.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper with cold gold and pigment, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper with cold gold and pigment, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This is definitely Amitabha, sitting on a Nepalese-style lotus base. His robe covers both shoulders but leaves the chest and right arm uncovered. It has a broad and finely incised hem.

Same as above.

Same as above.

The above figure has a striped robe that covers the left shoulder only. One end of the garment rests over his left shoulder, forming a straight line, the lower part of his dhoti is neatly arranged in a scallop shape in front of him.

15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's.

15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

Occasionally, the end of the garment over the shoulder has a trapezoidal shape.

16th century circa, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's

16th century circa, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

More often than not, it has a fishtail shape.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

These variations apply to any buddha dressed in monastic robe.

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