Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja (3)

14th century, Tibet, Mahakala, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

14th century, Tibet, Mahakala, copper alloy , private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Mahakala Shadbhuja (‘with six arms’) usually has one head (with three eyes) and 2 legs, standing on Ganapati.  He is often adorned with wrathful ornaments and holds various implements. The above brandishes a sword in his top right hand, he holds a flower (or a round object decorated with a flower) in the other,  his main hands crossed over his heart.

14th c., Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja, bronze+sil.+c. inlaid ornaments+face, 8,9 cm, close up

Part of his facial features and ornaments are inlaid with silver and copper.

15th century, Tibet, Mahakala, copper alloy, private collection, published by a buddhistlibrary.com

15th century, Tibet (or China?), Mahakala, copper alloy, private collection, published by a buddhistlibrary.com

On this Chinese-style sculpture, Mahakala Shadbhuja wears an unusual apron and a celestial scarf that forms big loops on each side of his head and under his elbows. He holds a skull cup and a flaying knife in his main hands. His facial features are harsh and his fingers, the leaves of his crown and other details have a sharply pointed end.

15th c., Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja, bronze, reverse

The ends of the scarf have a serpentine shape typical of Chinese Buddhist art.

16th century circa, Tibet, Mahakala, silver, same as before.

16th century circa, Tibet, Mahakala, silver, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This six-arm form  depicts White Mahakala, hence the use of silver (on paintings, his body is white). He stands on two elephant-headed deities.

16th c. cir., Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja, silver, stands on elephants, cop. base, 28 cm, close up

His soft face is painted with cold gold, and his hair, beard and moustache with orange pigment. He holds a skull cup and a flaying knife in his main hands. He is adorned with princely jewellery (rather than snakes)  and wears an ample skirt-like lower garment (instead of a tiger skin dhoti) with a beaded belt over it. He has soft rounded arms and toes and a smooth round belly. Even his chignon is round and smooth. White Mahakala normally holds a flaying knife in his top right hand and a skull cup in the lower left hand, his other right hands hold a wish-granting jewel and a drum, the left hands hold a vajra hook and a trident. The above holds the flaying knife and skull cup in his lower hands.

 

 

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