Nepal, early Malla Amitayus

14th-15th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper inlaid with stones, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

14th-15th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper inlaid with stones, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Amitayus is seated on a double-lotus base with long pointed petals, both hands in the dhyana mudra to hold a (missing) long-life vase, adorned with a five-leaf crown, stone-inlaid jewellery including two necklaces, a sacred thread. His medium length dhoti and the thin scarf over his forearms are incised with a floral motif, the extremities gathered in front of him form a raining jewel design. The upper ends of his dhoti are knotted on each side of his waist.

15th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy and stones, at the Musée de Neuchatel (Switzerland).

15th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy and stones, at the Musée de Neuchatel (Switzerland).

Some noticeable elements of the whole Malla period are the five-leaf crown, the lavish gilding and the profusion of small  gemstones. These are used to decorate crowns, jewellery, belts and other accessories, like the vase of longevity above.

15th century circa, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th century circa, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th c. cir., Nepal, Amitayus, gilt c.a., photo lab. 17th c., 16,4 cm, half vajra on head, raised urna, close up, Christie's

This Amitayus has a half vajra finial on his chignon. His short celestial scarf is wrapped around the forearms then flows upward, each end raised like a jewelled flower. There is a large tear-shaped urna on his broad forehead.

15th century, Nepal, Amitayus (labelled Amitabha), gilt copper, at the National Gallery of Canada.

15th century, Nepal, Amitayus or Amitabha? (labelled Amitabha), gilt copper, at the National Gallery of Canada.

This is a more sober image of the deity,  wearing a plain garment with a thick hem, the ends gathered in thick pleats under his ankles, his long-life vase missing. Unlike sculptures from the earlier Transitional Period, he has marked pectorals and wears a five-leaf crown, with floral panels and matching earrings. Amitayus normally wears full bodhisattva attire, Amitabha normally has the aspect of a buddha in monastic robe without a crown or jewellery. They are two aspects of the same deity.

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