Kashmir, Vajrasattva – Vajrapani

10th century, Kashmir, Vajrasattva, brass with cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie's.

10th century, Kashmir, Vajrasattva, brass with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The supreme buddha is seated on a double-lotus base over a throne supported by two lions. He holds an upright vajra in his right hand at heart level and a bell in his left hand against his hip. The mandorla is broken but he still has a serrated halo fastened to his back.

10th c., Kashmir, Vajrasattva, brass, 11.7 cm, head

He wears a three-leaf crown with bows and downard-flowing ribbons, some jewellery and a celestial scarf. His hair is dyed with lapis lazuli powder and his face painted with cold gold, indicating that the sculpture was worshipped in Tibet at some stage.

15th century, Kashmir, Vajrasattva, copper alloy, at the British Museum (UK).

15th century, Kashmir, Vajrasattva, copper alloy, at the British Museum, London (UK).

On this later sculpture, the deity is standing on a single lotus over a plain plinth. His bell is missing and the (plain) mandorla has been repaired with rivets. Instead of a scarf he wears a long garland.

11th century circa, Kashmir, Vajrapani, copper alloy and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

Circa 11th century, Kashmir, Vajrapani, copper alloy and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Like Vajrasattva, bodhisattva Vajrapani stands with an upright vajra in his right hand but the left hand is placed flat against his thigh, with no bell in it. The lotus pedestal is on a plinth decorated with two lions and a yaksha. The mandorla and (broken) halo are decorated with incised flames.

11th c. cir., Kashmir, Vajrapani, c.a.+sil.inlay eyes+crown, 18,7 cm, lion throne, garland, vajra, close up, Bonhams

His eyes, urna and part of the front panel of the crown are inlaid with silver. There are long strands of twisted hair falling over his shoulders. His dhoti, shorter on one side, reveals a marked knee cap. It is decorated with an incised and stippled motif and held in place with a belt. He wears jewellery, a sacred thread and a long garland.

Undated, Kashmir, Vajrapani, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York (USA).

8th cemtury, Kashmir, Vajrapani, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York (USA).

It is sometimes impossible to distinguish Vajrapani from Vajrasattva, but in this instance the pendant leg points to the bodhisattva, seated on a lotus over a rocky formation with two devotees at the base. He wears a short dhoti with regular pleating reminiscent of Swat Valley works, like his facial features, headdress and punched navel.

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