Tibet, lamas and their garments (2)

Undated (13th c?), Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated (possibly 13th century), Tibet, lama, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This lama is seated on a plain cushion with one leg unfolded, a thick boot sticking out of the meditation cloak that wraps his legs.

13th c. cir.?, Tibet, lama. c.a.+c. inlay, rosary, close up

He holds a rosary with both hands. The hem of his robe is inlaid with copper and incised with a geometrical motif.

13th c. cir.?, Tibet, lama. c.a.+c. inlay, rosary, BACK

His meditation cloak is worn, or rather piled up, around the waist. The artist has given it a realistic texture, starting with the plain collar, then the fine pleats,  then the voluminous amount of cloth gathered at the back, and finally a thin layer of cloth with a wavy hem that goes around the cushion.

13th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, same as before.

13th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, same as before.

We have seen in a previous post that the patched vest and robe of some lamas is inlaid with copper. This one wears his meditation cloak on his shoulders and over his legs but there is a bare foot uncovered.

13th c., Tibet, lama, c.a.+cop. inlay, private, back

We can appreciate the plain collar, the fine pleats where the cloth is gathered, and the thick folds of material forming a wavy pattern at the back.

13th century, Tibet, lama, brass, same as before.

13th century, Tibet, lama, brass, same as before.

13th c., Tibet, lama, brass, Nyingjei Lam, close up

This lama has no vest under his robe. The garment is pleated across his chest and its hem is adorned with an incised pattern. His shoulders, legs and feet are covered with a meditation cloak.

The sobriety and smooth  shapes of these early works – everything is soft and round and pleasing to the eyes – has no match in later works.

17th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

17th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

The folds of the garments and the corners of the cushion on this 17th century item are rather angular, the draping of the meditation cloak over the lama’s legs is full of peaks, the cloth covers both legs and feet then goes over the edge of the cushion. The torso is tall and the shoulders broad and square yet the hands are fine and delicate. He holds a long-life vase in one of them.

17th century, Tibet, silver, private collection, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

17th century, Tibet, silver with cold gold and pigments, private collection, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The meditation cloak covers the right shoulder properly; on the other side it rests on the arm, folded in thick layers.

18th century, Tibet, lama, silver, private collection, photo by Christie's.

18th century, Tibet, lama, silver, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this late piece, the lower garment of the lama is pleated at the waist, his vest tucked into it, the robe is finely pleated and the meditation cloak covers both shoulders and forearms, as well as both legs and feet. The fabric is more fluid and it is tucked and flattened under his legs, thus occupying less volume.

18th century, Tibet, Geluo lama, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art (US).

18th century, Tibet, Gelug lama, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

Here the fabric seems even more fluid and the meditation cloak completely covers the right forearm. He holds what seems to be a lotus flower in his left hand.

18th century, Tibet, Sakya lama, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

18th century, Tibet, Sakya lama, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

This reminds us of the first sculpture in this post, however, the meditation coat is arranged differently at the front, the folds are sharper, the lower garment is fastened with a belt and pleated at the waist, the folds stick up. He is seated on an animal skin (it is not clear what it is) on a double cushion. There is a small vajra in his right hand,  another attribute in the left one, a small rosary on his left wrist.

18th c., Tibet, Sakya lama, gilt metal, back, Rubin MoA

If we compare with the back of the first sculpture, we will see that on this later piece his lower garment is gathered around the waist and the pleats are showing and the vest is tucked in. The use of gilding is another indicator of a later date.

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