Tibet, Dharmata

16th century, Tibet, Dharmata, clay, private collection.

16th century, Tibet, Dharmata, clay, private collection.

A layman, attendant to the sixteen arhats, Dharmata/Dharmatala usually has his hair arranged in a top knot. Above, we see him holding a fly whisk in his right hand and a flask in the other. He is wrapped in a large monastic robe that falls down onto his attendant tiger (broken).

Same. Gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Same. Gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this very similar metal sculpture we can see the head of the tiger. The animal is much smaller than expected, to indicate its role of attendant.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Dharmata, bronze, photo by Christie's.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Dharmata, bronze, photo by Christie’s.

Dharmata carries the buddhist scriptures attached to his back (to travel with ease).  This beautifully crafted bronze depicts him with an elaborate hair style, a tight-fitting robe, thick boots, a long-life vase in his left hand and probably a (now missing) fly whisk in the other.

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