Tibet, Vajravarahi (8)

15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper with cold gold and pigments, at the Potala (Tibet).

15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper with cold gold and pigments, at the Potala (Tibet).

She stands on a victim with her left foot, holding a skull cup and a flaying knife. The snout of a female wild boar sticks out of her right temple. She wears a crown, bone apron, celestial scarf and jewellery richly inlaid with stones and coral, and a garland of severed heads. Her youthful face is painted with cold gold and her hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

The above has a more wrathful expression and wears a five-skull crown, a garland of severed heads, bone jewellery including floral earrings and a matching necklace, armbands and belt.

16th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, copper alloy, private collection.

16th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, copper alloy, private collection.

On this example, we can clearly see a sow’s head attached to hers. She carries a ritual staff against her left shoulder. Her upper fangs are biting her lower lip.

17th century circa, Western Tibet, Vajravarahi, silver with copper inlay, the Buckingham Collection.

17th century circa, Western Tibet, Vajravarahi, silver with copper inlay, The Buckingham collections.

The style of the lotus that supports her right knee, the design of her necklace and belt and the stepped base are all 17th century circa elements. She treads on a large-size victim, a feature  that seems proper to various forms of Vajravarahi made in Tibet, especially during the 17th and 18th century.

17th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, polychrome and gilt wood, private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, polychrome and gilt wood, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this wooden sculpture she has a garland of fifty skulls (instead of freshly severed heads). She stands on the backside of a prostrate female figure likely to be Kalaratri, who represents the Ego.

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