Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja (4)

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

17th century, Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This 6-arm Mahakala has three faces, each with three eyes, his hair merging into a big bunch of flames. He is adorned with serpentine jewellery inlaid with stones and coral, and wears a tiger skin dhoti. His fierceful faces and his hands are painted with cold gold, his eyebrows and beard with orange pigment like his hair, the base is missing, he would normally stand on an elephant-headed deity (Ganapati). He has Chinese-style earrings and pointed fingers, toes, hair  etc., even the tail of the tiger has a sharp end to it.

Same as before, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigments.

Same as before, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The shape of the flaming hair (going to one side), the celestial scarf and its snake-like extremities, the style of the jewellery and the fierce facial features indicate a Chinese influence here too (this may be the work of a Chinese artist in Tibet).

17th c., Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja, gilt c.a.+pig.+stones, 26 cm, close up

Mahakala holds the hide of an elephant across his back with his upper hands, there is a vajra-handled flaying knife and a skull cup filled with blood in his main hands, a drum and another (missing) implement in his lower hands. Unlike the previous example, none of his index fingers are pointing into the air.

17th c., Tibet, Mahakala Shadbhuja, gilt c.a.+pig.+stones, 26 cm, Ganapati

The elephant-headed deity under his feet has soft round body contours and well-defined plump toes.

18th century circa, Eastern Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, private collection,  photo by Koller.

18th century circa, Eastern Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

This sculpture is complete with base, flaming arch and implements. Mahakala holds a rosary in his top right hand, a flaying knife at heart level in the middle one and a drum in the lower one. On the other side he holds a vajra hook, a skull cup and a noose, from top to bottom.

 

 

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