Nepal, early Malla – Vajrasattva

14th century, Nepal, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

14th century, Nepal, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

Vajrasattva sits in the lotus position, a bell in his left hand and a thunderbolt (now missing) or vajra in his right hand. He is adorned with a low Nepalese-style crown , geometrical jewellery, a sacred cord and has a Nepalese-style oblong urna on his forehead. The Malla Period is famous for its lavishly gilt copper or copper alloy sculptures, made by Newar Artists.  Their elegant body proportions and poses, with the heads slightly tilted to one side and the waist to the other, are particularly striking.

15th century, Nepal, Vajrasttava, gilt

15th century, Nepal, Vajrasttava, gilt copper and stone inlay, photo by Sotheby’s,

On this example, we can see the upright thunderbolt in his right hand, at heart level.

Same. Private collection.

Same. Private collection.

On some sculptures, the half-vajra finial on top of his low chignon is particularly large.

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