Tibet, Mahakala . Brahmarupa

15th century, Tibet, Mahakala Brahmarupa, silver, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

15th century, Tibet, Mahakala, Brahmarupa, silver, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Silver sculptures from ancient Tibet are very few and this one is particularly special because it represents a rare form (in sculpture) of Mahakala depicted as a brahmin, with a long moustache and thin beard, his hair gathered in a chignon and adorned with bone ornaments. He holds a skull cup in his left hand and a flaying knife in the other. He is adorned with turquoise-inlaid floral earrings, a tiara with skulls, ritual staffs on each side of his head, bone jewellery, a garland of freshly severed heads.

15th c., Tibet, Mahakala Brahmarupa, silver+turq.+pig., sitting on deer skin, holds flaying knife and skullcup, 12,8 cm, detail

There is a human thigh bone across his chignon.

17th century, Tibet, Mahakala Brahmarupa, brass, same as before.

17th century, Tibet, Mahakala, Brahmarupa, brass, same as before.

Seated on a Pala-style double-lotus base, adorned with a Chinese-style cross-belt,  a garland of severed heads, beaded jewellery, a skull cup with festoons, his scarf forming an arch behind his head,

17th c., Tibet, Mahakala Brahmanrupa, tibia+skull cup

he holds a flute made from a thigh bone in his right hand and a skull cup in the other.

17th c., Tibet, Mahakala Brahmanrupa, middle

There is a human corpse under him.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Mahakala Brahmarupa, brass

17th-18th century, Tibet, Mahakala Brahmarupa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this image he sits (on a victim) over a rocky formation.

 

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