Tibet, Vajrayogini – variants (3)

15th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, gilt copper with turquoise inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper with turquoise inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

She holds a flaying knife and skull cup, and is adorned with a skull crown, garland of severed heads and bone jewellery and apron. She stands on a victim who raises a knee. Presumably, the adornment in her headdress is the head of a sow, which identifies her as the Vajravarahi form of Vajrayogini.

15th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

15th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, copper alloy, Navin Kumar collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources. On another page of the same website, labelled 1600-1699, Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

In the absence of a sow’s head or snout in her headdress or on the right side of the face, we are looking at another form of Vajrayogini. A celestial scarf frames her head and swirls around her arms, a sash floats over her hips, some vegetation  (probably lotuses) springs from the base. Her hair is fastened into a chignon topped with a finial.

18th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, painted wood and lacquer, published by the Liebermann gallery.

18th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, painted wood and lacquer, published by the Liebermann gallery.

On this more recent work Vajrayogini, surrounded with flames, steps on two victims (Kalaratri and Bhairava) and wears a Chinese-style cross belt.

18th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini, silver with parcel gilt copper alloy, at the Art Insitute of Chicago (USA).

18th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini (formerly labelled ‘dakini’), silver with parcel gilt copper alloy, at the Art Insitute of Chicago (USA).

She holds a rosary (not normally associated with her) in her right hand and raises a skull cup to her mouth, her head topped with a half-vajra. The ritual staff normally propped against her left shoulder is fastened to the back of her other shoulder. She wears a garland of skulls -instead of severed heads -,  a festooned breast ornament and an adaptation of the traditional bone apron, plain armbands, bracelets and anklets. There are no victims under her feet, both touching the base.

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