Nepal, Vairocana – two forms

14th-15th century, Nepal, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, photo by Christie's.

14th-15th century, Nepal, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Vairocana is seen here in his standard aspect, with one face and two hands, doing the dharmacakra mudra.  He is adorned with a crown, jewellery, including large floral earrings, and a sacred thread, all inlaid with stones. The double-lotus base on which he is seated is very different from the earlier Licchavi and Thakuri style pedestals.

14th-15th c., Nepal, Vairocana, gilt c.a.+pig.+stone inlaid urna, 11,7cm, dharmachakra mudra, close up, Christie's

He has unusual facial features, with big cheeks, slanted eyes and a tiny incised mouth. The rectangular urna above his well-separated eyebrows is inlaid with turquoise.

15th century, Nepal, Vairocana (labelled Amitayus), gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, published by Capriacart on asianart.com

15th century, Nepal, Vairocana (labelled Amitayus), gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, published by Capriaquar on asianart.com.

Now we see him with four heads and two hands, seated on a double-lotus base with round petals, on a throne supported by two big snow lions and decorated with a dharma wheel (Variocana’s attribute). He is adorned with two necklaces, bracelets, armbands and matching anklets, a celestial scarf with the ends shaped like foliage. The main head has a squarish face with a large raised urna. The larger leaf of the tiara is inlaid with a gem.

15th c., Nepal, Vairocana, labelled Amitayus, gilt c.a.+stones, 13,5 cm, 4 faces, back, Capriaquar

The back of the lotus base is unfinished and painted red (as on Khasa Malla works). The other heads have a small oval face, a low tiara and no urna. All the hair is pulled into a chignon topped with a half vajra. His dhoti is decorated with a large floral design, the upper ends are knotted on each side of the waist, a feature typical of early Malla sculptures.

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