Tibet, Padmasambhava (9)

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, silver inlaid with stones and coral, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, silver inlaid with stones and coral, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

The above image depicts Padmasambhava seated on a Yongle-style gilt copper alloy base, with the traditional vajra and skull cup in his hands. The vulture feather on his hat is missing. The artist has given him graceful body proportions and realistic facial features.

15th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, silver+stones, Rubin, close up

The sun disc on his hat is inlaid with coral. There is no urna on his forehead.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze with stone and coral inlay, at the Dallas Museum of Art (USA).

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze with stone and coral inlay, at the Dallas Museum of Art (USA).

This more sober sculpture, made of a dark copper alloy, includes a Nepalese-style lotus base with large flat petals quite popular Tibet during the 16th century circa. The small sun disc on his hat is inlaid with coral, his urna with turquoise. He has no earrings and wears a plain patched robe topped with a cloak.

17th century circa, Tibet, Padmasambhava, brass, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

17th century circa, Tibet, Padmasambhava, brass, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This image, on the other hand, incorporates novelties such as his footwear, the neckline of his inner garment, the foliate upward-flowing ribbons, the design of his floral earrings etc. There is a visvajra (double thunderbolt sceptre) at the front of his hat and a vulture feather on top.

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

Back to sobriety, with no gilding, frills or ribbons, but this time most features are incised, rather than sculpted, to mark the folds of the garments, the slanted semi-closed eyes, the hem of his garments, a vajra symbol at the front of his hat (no crescent moon or sun disc). Even the beading on the lotus base is made with incisions.

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