Mahasiddha, Possibly Campaka, early 14th century
Tibet, brass, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).
This masterpiece depicts a Mahasiddha, possibly Campaka, the ‘flower king’, seated on a throne supported by two Gilgit-style lions with frizzy manes, his legs loosely gathered over his long lower garment, his hands holding lotus buds. The waist line of his garment forms a peak at the front which matches the ripple on his chest, his navel is a hole punched in the abdomen.
The mahasiddha wears earplugs, his thick matted hair is combed backwards, he has strong, well defined facial features, a small moustache with curly ends and a full beard, which is bushier below the jawline, wide-open eyes and frowning eyebrows with a singular geometrical design where they meet.
This mahasiddha is seated on a cushion with rounded corners, his legs in the vajra position and both hands in the meditation gesture. His hair is tied in a chignon except for a few loose strands and adorned with a skull crown. He wears bone ornaments, a Chinese-style cross-belt and a sash or scarf incised with a geometrical motif. The animal and human limbs at the front of the cushion could be related to Goraksa, who is said to have given assistance to a wounded man who had lost his limbs.
17th century, Central Tibet, Tsang province atelier, Mahasiddha Shavaripa, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
Before becoming a Buddhist adept, Shavaripa was a hunter. He is seated with a leg folded and the other raised, his knee held by a meditation belt, a bow over his left shoulder, his hands doing the dharmacakra mudra.
He is adorned with a floral tiara, some jewellery including large hoops, a Chinese-style cross-belt with dangling beads (possibly acorns), his loin cloth is tied around his waist. There are traces of cold gold on his face.