Tibet, wrathful females

13th century, Tibet, wrathful female, bronze, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

13th century, Tibet, wrathful female, bronze, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

She stands with her right leg slightly bent, holding a skull cup in her left hand and probably a (missing) flaying knife in the other, wearing a long dhoti and adorned with a skull crown and snakes (worn as bracelets, armbands, anklets, necklace and belt).

15th-16th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy and pigments, private collection.

Labelled 15th-16th century (more likely 17th century onwards), Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy and pigments, private collection.

This extremely wrathful character stands with her left foot on a coiled snake, her hands in the gesture of prayer, a celestial scarf slung over her right arm, adorned with bone bracelets and anklets, large earrings and a necklace. Her flaming hair and her mouth are painted with red pigment, there are only two skulls on her tiara.

15th-16th-c-tibet-wrathful-female-gilt-bronzepigments-back

She wears a tiger skin dhoti knotted at the front.

17th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This semi-naked female holds a kila (three-sided peg) with a vajra handle in her left hand and possibly a flaying knife in the other. She wears a human hide over her back and is adorned with bone jewellery, floral earrings and a tiara with a single skull. Her long braid of hair is piled into a chignon that falls to one side.

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2 thoughts on “Tibet, wrathful females

  1. I believe the “15th-16th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy and pigments, private collection” is misidentified. I once owned this bronze figure and, very regrettably, returned it to the Ebay seller I purchased it from after being informed by the folks at valuemystuff that it was made in the 20th century. I have since done considerable research which indicates the piece was most likely made between the 17th to 19th centuries. There are a number of similar such figures in the Jacques Marchais Museum, all very unusual and with strange combinations of nonsensical Tibetan-like characters on the base. They can be found here: http://www.himalayanart.org/items/75101/images/primary#-903,-1956,3598,42
    It is assumed the figures were made by a tribe which was likely illterate

    • Thank you for your useful remark. Inscriptions are not necessarily contemporary with the sculpture they are on, but indeed the piece seems to have been misdated (or the date mistyped) given that the style of the hair, scarf and lotus base corresponds to later works. The appropriate amendment has been made.

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