Tibet, Mahakala – Panjarnata (3)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Mahakala, parcel gilt copper alloy, private collection, published Rossi & Rossi.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Mahakala, parcel gilt copper alloy, private collection, published Rossi & Rossi.

Mahakala with one head and three eyes, two arms arms and two legs, is standing over a corpse on a Yongle-style double-lotus base. He is adorned with a five-skull crown, a garland of 50 freshly severed heads, jewellery, a celestial scarf that forms graceful loops at elbow level, he holds a skull cup and a vajra-handled flaying knife at heart level.

14th-15th c., Tibet, Mahakala, parcel gilt+pig.+rock crystal eyes+glass, 40,2 cm, close up

His flaming hair is painted with orange pigment, his eyes are made of rock crystal,  his jewellery is inlaid with coloured glass.

15th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, at the Walters Art Museum.

15th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Mahakala, gilt hammered copper alloy, at the Walters Art Museum (USA).

This rare sculpture depicts Mahakala in a sitting position (the base is missing but he was probably resting on a victim), holding his usual attributes, adorned with a five-skull crown with foliate panels inlaid with stones, bows and ribbons, a garland of severed heads, a snake as a sacred cord. He wears a bone apron, a cross belt and a scarf ending with raining jewels (next to his ankles).

15th-16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Mahakala, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Mahakala, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this example we can see the knotted snake acting as a sacred cord, and the paws of the tiger skin loin cloth dangling below. His eyes are inlaid with silver.

16th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, at the San Diego Museum of Art (USA).

16th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, at the Newark Museum (USA).

Here the artist has adorned him with ribbons around his hips.

In all cases, the squatting (or sitting) position and the attributes he hold is what identifies the panjarnata form of this deity.

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

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

On this later Chinese-style work he sits on a screaming victim.

 

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