Tibet, Virupa (7)

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

Undated (16th century?), Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A number of sculptures made around the 16th century depict Virupa with a long-life vase (kalasha) topped with a skull cup (kapala) next to him.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 15th c?, Tibet, c.a., skull cup+long-life vase, close up

He has a large raised urna on his forehead, a moustache and low beard, his elongated earlobes are pierced. His tiara matches his garland of flowers. He wears bone jewellery with rectangular connector-beads and  a cross-belt with a square piece in the middle.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 15th c?, Tibet, c.a., skull cup+long-life vase, detail

His meditation belt is incised with a traditional motif.

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

The Mahasiddha is seated on an antelope skin over a ‘rocky formation pedestal’, a long-life vase topped with a skull cup in front of him. His raised knee is held by a thin meditation belt, the foot rests on a lotus supported by an apsara sculpted at the front of the base, next to snow lions. There is a standing figure before him (maybe the donor). His hair is tied in a top knot, he has bulging eyes and thick eyebrows, no urna, a small moustache, jawline beard and goatee, his right hand doing the karana mudra, the other holding a (missing) skull cup. He is adorned with a small tiara over a row of thick hair locks, some jewellery and a cross-belt with a flower at the centre which could  be construed as a visvajra (double thunderbolt sceptre).

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

This singular piece depicts Virupa with the same type of jewellery as the first figure in this post. The bottom part of the double-lotus pedestal is incised with the same foliate pattern as seen before on some meditation belts.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 16th c., Tibet, bronze, 21 cm, large urna, close up

He has a large raised urna on his forehead, a moustache and an incised beard along his jawline, his ears and facial contours are not as well defined as the rest of the body.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 16th c., Tibet, bronze, 21 cm, rearview

His hair is rolled up into a chignon. A small  portion of the lotus base is plain.

Mahasiddha Virupa, 16th c., Tibet, bronze, 21 cm, large urna

His short dhoti is incised with a floral motif, the meditation belt has a geometrical motif at the back and a floral and foliate motif at the front.

Undated, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, brass with pigments, published in Grandes Lamas del Tibet.

Undated, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, brass with pigments, published in Grandes Lamas del Tibet.

There is a trident and a standing figure (maybe the donor, or a consort) by his side. He is adorned with a profusion of Chinese-style beaded (human bone) ornaments, a floral tiara, large hoops. He wears a short dhoti and his right knee is loosely bound with a thin meditation belt. He holds a skull cup in his left hand and does the karana mudra with the other.

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