Tibet, Virupa (6)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, brass, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Early sculptures depict Virupa without a Chinese-style cross-belt. On this one he is seated with his left leg loosely folded, the other raised and held with a meditation belt adorned with an incised geometrical motif. He holds a skull cup in his left hand, the other is raised (doing the karana mudra) to stop the sun in its course.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 13th-14th c., Tibet, gilt c.a.+c.+sil.+stone, 12,4 cm, close up

His eyes are inlaid with silver and copper, there is also some copper in his hair. He has a thin moustache and low beard and is adorned with a floral garland and matching jewellery.

14th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy with gilding and turquoise, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

14th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy with gilding and stones, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The use of gilding (especially bright yellow) together with a high copper content and the way the eyes are fashioned indicate that this work was probably made by a Nepalese artist in Tibet. Virupa points to the Sun with his index finger, his other hand resting on the double-lotus base (with an unusually large row of beading). The garland of flowers around his neck and his jewellery are inlaid with turquoise, plus coral for the tiara and pearls for the earrings.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 14th c., Tibet, gilt c.a.+stones, face

There is a large raised urna on his forehead. He has the usual thin moustache and jawline-beard.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 14th c., Tibet, Nepalese artist?, gilt c.a.+stones, back

His hair is gathered on top of his head except for a few loose strands. He wears a short dhoti and a meditation belt incised with a foliate pattern. The double-lotus base has no plain part at the back.

15th century, Central Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

15th century, Central Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this work, the mahasiddha has his legs folded with the upper part of his feet resting on the base, his hands doing the dharmacakra mudra,  adorned with a garland of flowers and matching jewellery, wearing a short dhoti, a hole punched in his belly to mark the navel, his eyebrows almost horizontal and separated by a raised urna, his usual moustache and jawline beard.

Undated (15th century?), Central Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

Undated (15th century?), Central Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

On this masterpiece, his chignon is adorned with a large flower matching the front panel of his tiara and the rest of his ornaments.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 15th c. ? Central Tibet, Tsang province, close up

His eyes are inlaid with silver. He has thin eyebrows and no urna, an horizontal moustache and a small beard along his jawline. His ears are adorned with broad hoops. The artist has taken great care with the hands.

Undated (15th century?), Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, brass on copper alloy base, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated (15th century?), Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa,  private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This less defined but similar sculpture is made of brass and the pedestal is made of copper alloy.

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

His hair is tied in chignon except for a few looses strands,  his thick eyebrows form a V shape, he wears a floral tiara with bows and ribbons, matching jewellery and a garland of flowers across his back and chest. His eyes are inlaid with silver and copper, his lips with copper.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 16th c., Tibet, c.a.+cold g.+pig., 36 cm, dhoti foliate pattern, sil.+c. eyes and jewellery, cop. lips, back

He wears a richly incised lower garment held in place with an incised cummerband. The lotus base has no plain part at the back.

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