Tibet, Padmasambhava (12)

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

This is a standard portrait of Padmasambhava dressed in full monastic garments with an incised hem, seated in the vajra posture, a skull cup and a vajra in his hands, his ritual staff propped against his left shoulder, adorned with a lotus hat with a moon and sun symbol at the front and topped with a vulture feather. He has no facial hair and no earrings. It is unusual for the petals on the lotus base to be split at the center.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava,  gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on www.asianart.com

16th-17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on http://www.asianart.com

On this sculpture, with more realistic facial features and elegant body proportions, he is wearing some footwear. His earrings, necklace and hat are inlaid with turquoise. Other ‘modern’ elements are the profusion of folds in the cloth and the lotus base (with a plain base and a row of wide overlapping petals going upwards). There are long strands of hair over his shoulders.

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, dark copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, dark copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This type of lotus base became popular during the 17th century and is also seen on 17th-18th century works from Mongolia and Bhutan. On the above sculpture we can see some form of footwear under his left hand.

Same as before, gilt copper alloy, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

Same as before, gilt copper alloy, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

Again, his feet are covered here. The lotus base is more elaborate and the style of the petals more innovative.

17th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze, 24 cm, close up

The front panel of his lotus hat is decorated with a visvajra. The vulture feather is missing.

17th century, Central Tibet, Padmsambhava, ivory,

17th century, Central Tibet, Padmsambhava, ivory, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This piece is remarkable not only because of the material used by the artist but also – and above all – because of the high degree of craftsmanship.

17th century circa, same as before, private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th century circa, same as before, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This is a similar image, seated on a lotus base with broad flat petals going upwards typical of the 18th century. On both items the vulture feather is missing and he has no staff.

 

 

 

 

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