Tibet, Peaceful Vajrapani – standing

Vajrapani, the ” vajra holder”, normally refers to a bodhisattva who has a peaceful and a wrathful form.

9th-11th century, Tibet

9th-11th century, Tibet, copper alloy.

When standing, peaceful Vajrapani may hold a thunderbolt or vajra in one hand, arm down, while doing the fear-allaying gesture with the other.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

This Nepalese-style sculpture shows him doing the fear-allaying gesture (abhaya) and holding the vajra with the same hand, the other holds the stem of a lotus. At his feet, there is an attendant (probably Anuchara) and a long-life vase.

Same as before.

Same as before.

Above, he is holding the vajra in his right hand and doing the teaching gesture (vitarka) with the other.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

This West Tibetan sculpture depicts him with the vajra in his right hand, a bell in his left hand against his hip, a blue lotus or utpala (his emblem) to his left.

12th century, Western Tibet, Vajrapani, brass, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

12th century, Western Tibet, Vajrapani, brass, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

Sometimes his left hand holds the stem of a lotus topped with a bell.

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

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

The vajra may also be held upright at heart level. The right hand is usually folded against his hip, as on the next picture, but the powerful sculpture above depicts him with the right hand in the teaching gesture.

10th century circa, Tibet, Shakyamuni with Avalokitheshvara and Vajrapani.

10th century circa, Tibet, Shakyamuni with Avalokitheshvara and Vajrapani, clay, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

Vajrapani is often part of a triad, along with Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara. On the above clay stele we can see him to the left of the historical buddha,  his left hand against his hip and the vajra upright in the other hand. There is a group of three jewels or triratna in front of the buddha.

 

 

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