Nepal, goddesses with long hair

15th-16th century, Nepal, Ekajata, wood, published by Galerie Zacke, Vienna (Austria).

15th-16th century, Nepal, Ekajata, wood, published by Galerie Zacke, Vienna (Austria).

culptures of Ekajata (or Ekajati), a blue form of Tara, are rare and even more so when depicted with a peaceful face, in which case she is a meditational deity who may have  2, 4, or 8 arms. She is identified thanks to her very long hair, usually coiled and piled on her head as above, and typically has a third eye and wears a tiger skin dhoti and a snake as a sacred thread. The above displays bodhisattva jewellery typical of the Malla period, her main hands hold a skull cup and a flaying knife, the upper left hand holds a ritual staff (khatvanga), the other arm is missing.

17th century, Nepal, Ekajata, gilt copper repoussé, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (USA).

17th century, Nepal, Ekajata, gilt copper repoussé, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (USA).

This is the one-head and two-arm form of Ekajati, holding a skull cup and a flaying knife.

18th century, Nepal, unidentified goddess, published by Eleanor Abraham on www.asianart.com.

18th century, Nepal, unidentified goddess, copper alloy, published by Eleanor Abraham on http://www.asianart.com.

It is unusual for a female deity not to have a crown or a tiara or some other kind of adornment in her hair, except for green Tara who is sometimes depicted her without a headdress and seated with her legs as above. But Green Tara always has one or both hands doing a symbolical gesture. What is even more unusual is the way her long hair is gathered into a chignon at the back of her head rather than on top.

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