Tibet, Akshobhya – buddha appearance (3)

13th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, brass, private collection, photo by Nagel.

13th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, brass, private collection, photo by Nagel.

Seated in the vajra position, on a single-lotus base over a Kashmiri-style throne supported by lions and decorated with an upright vajra, Akshobhya holds his left hand in the meditation gesture (dhyana mudra) and his right hand in the ‘calling-Earth-to-witness’ gesture (bhumisparsha mudra). There are some rings at the back to fit a back panel (mandorla) now lost.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

This Akshobhya may have held an upright thunderbolt in his cupped left hand. Unlike the previous (and unusual) example, his hair is dyed with lapis lazuli powder, the top knot is adorned with a golden finial.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper alloy, same as before.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper alloy, same as before.

The thunderbolt is often placed before him, as above. We will notice the deeply grooved facial features (except for the slightly marked urna), the incised motif on the edge of his garment, and the end of the garment neatly arranged like a fishtail over his shoulder.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

Sometimes, the vajra in front of him is incised. On this sculpture and the following ones, a feature which helps date the work is one end of the robe resting on the crook the elbow.

Same as before, photo by Christie's.

Same as before, photo by Christie’s.

The facial features on this buddha are painted with pigments. The elongated earlobes which once supported earrings could be those of the historical buddha but the absence of a dharma wheel (or a lotus) incised in the palm of his hand and the soles of his feet points to Akshobhya.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Askhobhya, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Askhobhya, copper alloy, private collection.

The artist has inlaid the eyes with silver and the hem of his robe with copper. There is a small vajra in front of him.

14th-15th century, Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

14th-15th century, Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

 

5 thoughts on “Tibet, Akshobhya – buddha appearance (3)

  1. greetings!

    looks like the usual rings/folds around neck can differ; is this phonomenon particular to akshobhya, or does it occur on shakyamuni as well?

    • Good observation! The variations on the folds of the neck do not depend on which buddha is being portrayed but on which artist did the sculpture. It is very unusual to come across an ancient buddha with no such folds like the highly original 14th century one with deeply marked facial features (posted on 23rd May). On some pieces the folds are hardly noticeable because of the gilding.Cheers.

      • thanks for your kind answer. i happen to own one small brass tibetan akshobhya on a double lotus base without beading, upon a stepped throne with lions, elephants, yaksha on front and eight vishvavajra along the semi-circular backside. the figure is without any trace of neck folds, no urna and no vajra in front of him. i believe the sculpture is 17th century – although not terribly old, but old nontheless. it is not unlikely that this sculpture was made by the same artist/maker as ref. himalayan art resources, item: lama tangtong gyalpo, collection of carolyn and dr westley halpert. if you would like to have a look, i can email you a few clear photos. all the best from northern europe.

  2. Interesting comments… I shall look more carefully at neck folds/rings… I particularity like the one with the elongated lobes, leaning slightly forward; he has a very benign human, engaging expression

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