Nepal, early sculptures (2)

10th century circa, Nepal, copper and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

10th century circa, Nepal, Doner, copper and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Donors are usually depicted half kneeling and with their hands in prayer, as above. Like most sculptures worshipped in Lhasa, her face has been painted with cold gold and pigments, her hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder. She wears a small tiara,  a beaded necklace and bangles, a long dhoti fastened with a belt. A shawl or scarf is slung over her left shoulder and a serrated flaming halo typical of the Thakuri period is fastened to her back.

10th century circa, Nepal, Vajrapani, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

10th century circa, Nepal, Vajrapani, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This (wrathful) Vajrapani stands on one foot like a dakini, yielding a vajra in his right hand and doing the tarjani mudra (threatening gesture) with the left hand. His mitre-like flaming hair is dyed with red pigment.

11th century circa, Nepal, Kubera, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Christie's.

11th century circa, Nepal, Kubera, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This Indian deity is rarely seen in Himalayan art. He normally holds a mace, a pomegranate or a money bag in his left hand, and sometimes a mongoose and a sheaf of jewels. The above carries a lotus topped with jewels. His right hand displays the vitarka mudra. He wears a stone-inlaid tiara with rosettes, a short necklace also inlaid with stones, a garland, bracelets, armlets and anklets. The fact that he is often portrayed as a pot-bellied dwarf may explain why his legs are so short compared to the rest of the body. However, it is also a particularity of some Nepalese sculptures.

12th century, Nepal, tantric yogin, copper alloy (or copper?), at the Walters Museum of Art (USA).

12th century, Nepal, tantric yogin, copper alloy (or copper?), at the Walters Museum of Art (USA).

This naked character is holding a skull cup in his left hand and another, unidentified object on the other side. His meditation belt is worn across the chest like a sash. His hair is fastened and divided into three topknots, which indicates that he may be a tantric teacher rather than a simple adept.

 

 

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