Tibet, Padmasambhava (5)

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel.

Although the vulture feather is missing from his lotus hat, this is undoubtedly Padmasambhava, with a skull cup in his left hand and his right hand doing the tarjani (or karana) mudra while holding a vajra, a ritual staff propped against his left shoulder. He has a gentle face with large almond-shaped eyes and thin eyebrows that meet together in a V shape, his lips are enhanced with red pigment. The influence of nearby China from the 15th century onwards is noticeable through the shape and texture of the garments, the round floral earrings and the lavish gilding.

16th century circa, Tibet, Padmasambhava, brass and pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

16th century circa, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

It is even more so on this later work, through the way his lower garment is fastened under the breast, its rounded ends, and the way it covers the pedestal (which may not be the original one), and through the snake-like ribbons on his staff. His unusual headdress is topped with elegant ribbons and a feather. This headdress, the turquoise-inlaid earrings and the showy ear ornaments recall a 15th century sculpture of Mahakala Brahmanrupa which is at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (published in a previous post).

16th century circa, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

16th century circa, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

On this Nepalese-style work, we can see the crescent moon and sun disc at the front of his lotus hat (the feather is broken). There is a large tear-shaped urna on his forehead. He wears monastic garments with an incised hem and a soft meditation cloak over his shoulders.

Same as before, brass, private collection, photo by Mossgreen,

Same as before, brass, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

Here Padmasambhava holds a skullcup topped with a long-life vase. The crescent moon and sun disc are at the top of his hat. There is a large round urna on his forehead. His lower garment is elegantly draped over his legs and over the base.

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