Tibet, Padmasambhava (4)

14th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

14th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The co-founder of Tibetan Buddhism is normally depicted seated in the vajra posture, his right hand holding a thunderbolt or vajra, the left hand holding a skull cup filled with nectar or jewels, a khatvanga (mendicant staff topped with three heads and a trident and adorned with a ribbon) resting on his left shoulder, his eyes wide-open, his head  adorned with a five-petal lotus hat topped with a vulture feather (some say an eagle). He wears an upper and lower garment, and a gown with wide sleeves that cover both arms. The earrings above imitate lotus flowers.

14th century, Western Tibet or former kindgom of Ladakh, copper alloy with silver inlay, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

14th century (or later?), Western Tibet or former Tibetan kindgom of Ladakh, copper alloy with silver inlay, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

The front panel of his hat is normally decorated with a moon crescent and a sun disc. On the above example these are inlaid with silver and copper respectively. His hat is adorned with bows and ribbons. He sits on a single lotus base with flat curly petals that go upwards, over a throne decorated with a double thunderbolt (visvajra) at the front and yakshas on each side. His legs and his trunk seem oversized in comparison with the rest of the body (a feature which corresponds more to the 17th century). He has a gentle moon-like face with silver-inlaid eyes and urna and copper inlaid lips.

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, brass with copper and silver inlay, at the Nelson Atkins museum of art (USA).

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, brass with copper and silver inlay, at the Nelson Atkins museum of art (USA).

15th century, Tibet, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection.

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection.

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, photo by Christie's

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, photo by Christie’s.

As we can see, the shape of his hat, his facial features, the pedestal on which he sits, vary enormously from one artist to the other.

 

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