Pala India, Hevajra

12th century, Northeast India, Heruka, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie's.

12th century, Northeast India, Heruka, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Not to be confused with Shri Heruka, who has three heads, this is the heruka Shri Hevajra in his one head+2 hand form, identified through the attributes he holds (a thunderbolt in the right hand, a skull cup in the other, a ritual staff against the left shoulder), the way he stands with one leg in  the air and the other treading on a victim (Ganapati), and the effigy of Akshobhya in his headdress. His hair is tied up in a mitre-like bunch, he wears an animal skin as a loin cloth and snakes as jewellery.

12th century, Northeast India, Shri Hevajra Heruka, copper alloy, Nyingjei Lam Collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

12th century, Northeast India, Shri Hevajra, heruka, copper alloy, Nyingjei Lam Collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this image he has a garland of freshly severed human heads around his shoulders.

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Hevajra, grey stone, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Hevajra, grey stone, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

Another form of the deity, with 8 heads, 4 legs and 16 hands, the main ones embracing his consort, Vajra Nairatmya, the others hold skull cups containing human and animal figures related to mantras from the Hevajra Tantra text. a visvajra (double thunderbolt) adorns his upper head (which looks more like Mahakala’s head than the other three heads).

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