Tibet, Düsum Khyenpa (2)

In a previous post we saw the first karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa (1110-1193) with his hands resting over his knees and ‘calling Earth to witness’. Here, he has both hands in the meditation gesture and may have been holding an object, now missing.

14th century, Tibet, 1st karmapa, gilt copper alloy, photo by Nagel.

14th century, Tibet, 1st karmapa, gilt copper alloy, photo by Nagel.

The patches that form his monastic robe are marked with rows of thick beading. The lower part of his garment is tightly tucked under his legs, leaving one foot visible. The whole composition has a balanced, almost pyramidal shape, in the Tibetan style.

Undated, Tibet, 1st karmapa, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Tibet, 1st karmapa, copper alloy with copper, silver and gold inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

As above, he is portrayed with an oval face with high cheekbones, small eyes and lips, but on this sculpture the eyes are more sunken (and the crown-like hat is missing). His inner garment is inlaid with metal and its hem is decorated with a geometrical pattern. The meditation cloak over it covers both arms and is gathered loosely over his legs. The bottom is arranged to form lotus petals over the broad single-lotus base – this, along with the single row of lotus petals, the use of gold inlay and the awkward proportions points to a much later date than the previous item.

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