Tibet, Akshobhya – buddha appearance (2)

 

12th-13th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, brass, at the Walters Museum of Art (USA).

12th-13th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, brass with pigments and stone inlay, at the Walters Museum of Art (USA).

Akshobhya is seated in the vajra position on a tall Pala-style lotus base, his right hand calling Earth to witness, his left hand holding one end of his garment, a vajra placed in front of him. His chignon is topped with a finial inlaid with turquoise. The other end of his transparent upper garment is folded around his left shoulder. He has a square face with thin lips, thin eyebrows and a large round urna, broad shoulders, a thin waist with a deep navel and fleshy abdomen highlighted by the upper edge of his dhoti.

13th century, Tibet, Akshbohya, brass, photo by Koller.

13th century, Tibet, Akshbohya, brass, photo by Koller West.

The iconography of Akshobhya in his buddha appearance can be the same as the iconography of Shakyamuni when his hands are in the bhumisparsha mudra. On this Pala-style work, the vajra may be missing or may not have been in his hand, but Shakyamuni’s soles would be incised with an eight-spoke wheel.

13th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Renzo Freschi.

13th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Renzo Freschi.

It is unusual for Tibetan sculptures to be made of pure copper, often used by Newar artists in Nepal, where the tear-shaped urna (once inlaid with a stone in this case) is also common. The buddha sits on a Pala-style lotus base. The raised edge of his garment with a deep groove in the middle is seen on some 13th century works from Central Tibet.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, dark bronze with copper inlay, photo by Christie's.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, dark bronze with copper inlay, cold gold and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

His face has been painted with cold gold, his hair with lapis lazuli powder, the hem of his transparent garment is incised and inlaid with copper. We will notice delicate hands and feet and the neat shape of his dhoti folded before him. There is a small vajra incised on the upper part of the lotus base. One end of his garment is folded across his shoulder, parallel with the copper-inlaid hem.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper alloy and pigment, photo by Koller.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper alloy and pigment, photo by Koller.

On this example, one end of the garment forms a three-pointed shape over the shoulder.

Same as before.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, gilt copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection.

On many sculptures, one end of the garment forms a fishtail shape across the shoulder.

 

 

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