Nepal, Thakuri Achala

10th century, Nepal, Achala, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

10th century, Nepal, Achala, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

It is unusual to see Achala with four arms, and a pity that two hands are missing. He normally holds a sword (only the hilt remains here) in his right hand and a lasso in the other, but this one appears to have a thunderbolt in his remaining left hand. His hair is dyed with an orange pigment and he is adorned with snakes, as is the tradition with wrathful deities, but instead of the standard tiger skin dhoti, he wears a short lower garment gathered at the front and topped with a sash knotted on one side. He also wears jewellery and a sacred cord.  The pedestal on which he stands imitates a rocky formation more often seen on earlier Kashmiri sculptures. The face and neck have been painted with cold gold, a standard practice for sculptures worshipped in Tibet.

Same, gilt copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Same, bronze with traces of gilding, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Unlike sculptures of Achala made in Tibet, this one also depicts him with a lower garment made of cloth rather than a tiger skin, and also without a third eye and without two victims under his feet. Nevertheless, the hilt of a sword in his right hand and the snake adornments on his body identify him as Achala.

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