Kashmir, Prajnaparamita

10th-11th century, Kashmir or Western Tibet, Prajnaparamita, copper alloy with silver inlay, photo by Christie's.

10th-11th century, Kashmir or Western Tibet, Prajnaparamita, copper alloy with silver inlay, photo by Christie’s.

Mother of all buddhas, Prajnaparamita has one face and four arms. Her main hands are doing the vitarka and dhyana mudras, the upper right hand holds a manuscript or sutra and the upper left hand holds a thunderbolt or vajra. She sits on a Kashmir-style plinth, with her legs in the vajra position, commonly but erroneously (mea culpa) described as the lotus position (see on the enlightening Himalayan Art Resources website under “Glossary” the article “Caution words and sensitive subjects”).

10th-11th c., Kashmir or WT, Prajnaparamita face

Her broad harmonious facial features and her pointed crown with bows and rosettes are reminiscent of West Tibetan works. Her eyes are inlaid with silver and her thin eyebrows meet in the centre, in the Kashmiri fashion. She is adorned with  lotus earrings, a necklace with a large pendant, armbands, bracelets, a sacred cord.

10th-11th c., Kashmir or WT, Prajnaparamita, base

She wears a richly decorated ankle-length dhoti 

10th-11th c., Kashmir or WT, Prajnaparamita, waist

and a broad sash across her chest, above her Kashmiri-style lobed abdomen with a cruciform navel.

This could well be the work of a Kashmiri artist in Western Tibet (or for worship in Western Tibet).

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