Vajrapani, Kashmir or Gandhara

6th-7th century, Kashmir or Gandhara, copper alloy with silver inlay, photo by Bonhams.

6th-7th century, copper alloy with silver inlay, photo by Bonhams. Labelled ‘Kashmir or Gandhara’ by Bonhams and ‘Ancient Gandhara’ by Himalayan Art Resources.

Vajrapani, the ‘thunderbolt bearer’ is holding a very large thunderbolt or vajra horizontally in his right hand. He stands on a small single-lotus base with large flat petals point upwards, the rim is decorated with a row of thick beading. He wears a short dhoti folded in the Swat Valley fashion and a flat wavy celestial scarf with a large tassel at one end, not uncommon to standing Swat Valley sculptures. The treatment of the torso, the short necklace with large beads and the rich copper alloy recall a 7th-8th c. standing Maitreya thought to be from Kashmir, published in a previous post under ‘Jammu and Kashmir’. His low crown, hairstyle and facial features recall the late Gandhara style.

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2 thoughts on “Vajrapani, Kashmir or Gandhara

    • Thank you for your comment. There are many deities regarded as thunder-gods but in the buddhist philosophy Vajrapani, literally ‘the vajra (diamond/thunderbolt) bearer’, represents the energy of the enlightened mind rather than the physical energy of thunder – in fact, that particular statue has a smiling face.

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