Tibet, Padmasambhava (11)

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th century (or later?), Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This richly gilt Nepalese-style sculpture depicts Padmasambhava in the traditional way, seated in the vajra position, with a skull cup in his left hand, a vajra in the other and a ritual staff against his left shoulder, his lotus hat topped with a vulture feather. The artist has portrayed him like a deified lama, with long-stem lotuses on each side.

15th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt c.a., foliate scroll design, kartari mudra

His garments are richly incised with a floral and foliate motif. His right hand does the tarjani(or kartari) mudra.

15th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt c.a., lotus base

The shape of the upward-going petals on the lotus base is normally associated with the 16th century onwards, the same goes for the shape of his earrings.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This is a rare portrait of Padmasambhava, seated on an unusual lotus base and flanked by his main consorts, Mandarava and Yeshe Tsogyal, who stand on lotuses. He has silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips. His garments have an incised hem.

Same as before, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

Same as before, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This is a similar type of portrait (the consorts are missing) complete with its back panel made of two parts and decorated with deities (likely his other forms). Again, we see a lotus base with upward petals flanked by two lotuses and attached to another lotus base, with downward petals.

17th century, Central Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

17th century, Central Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

Dated a century later, this sculpture has a strikingly similar base and is made in a similar (Central Tibetan) style. As we have seen in the introduction to this blog, dating is always relative and it both sculptures were probably made around the same time. This one has lost its back panel but the two consorts are preserved.

Same as before, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Koller.

16th-17th century, same as before, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Koller.

This is Padmasambhava and his eight forms (or emanations). We can see Dorje Drolo in the bottom right corner, riding a tiger and holding a vajra in one hand and a ritual knife or phur-bu in the other. Guru Dragpo stands on the other side, holding a vajra and a scorpion. Orgyam Dorje Chang, second from the top left corner, looks like Vajradhara and his consort.

 

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