Western Tibet, Amitayus (3)

13th-14th century, Western Tibet, Amitayus, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes, photo by Bonhams.

13th-14th century, Western Tibet, Amitayus, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes, photo by Bonhams.

Amitayus, generally accepted to be the bodhisattva form of Amitabha, is seated in the vajra position with his hands cupped to hold a long-life vase, on a double-lotus base with plump apple-like petals typical of Western Tibet. He is adorned with the standard Indian-style jewellery and tall crown with panels linked with rods, his chignon topped with a large ornament. Instead of a celestial scarf, there are two long-stemmed lotus acting as a frame. His eyes are inlaid with silver. We will notice the harmonious proportions of the body and pyramidal shape of the composition.

14th century circa, Western Tibet, Amitayus (labelled Amitabha), copper alloy, photo by Sotheby's.

14th century circa, Western Tibet, Amitayus (labelled Amitabha), copper alloy and pigment, photo by Sotheby’s.

On this work, the celestial scarf forms an arch behind his back and rests on his side up to his knees. The lower part of the double-lotus base is occasionally decorated with a thick row of beading instead of plain metal.

14th-15th century, Western Tibet, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection.

14th-15th century (or later?), Western Tibet, brass with stone (or glass?) and copper inlay, private collection.

This is obviously part of a set to which a similar sculpture of Akshobhya dated 13th-14th century, published recently, belongs. The discrepancy in the dating shows the difficulty involved. The simplistic facial features (incised rather than sculpted), the small size of the crown panels and the use of stone inlay point to a later rather than an earlier date… The design of the armbands and the incisions on the celestial scarf are not typical of the 13th-14th century either.

15th century, Western Tibet, Amitayus, brass with stone inlay, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel.

15th century, Western Tibet, Amitayus, brass with stone inlay, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel.

This is also a piece from a (remarkable) set to which a previously posted sculpture of Akshobhya belongs.

15th c., Western Tibet, Amitayus, c.a.+ c.and s. inlay., close up

The front panel of the crown is adorned with Kirtimukha. Apart from the standard vegetation coming out of his mouth, there is a small piece of turquoise inlaid just below. His short necklace is incised with coral, the other stones/coral pieces are now missing.

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