Tibet, Vairocana – 4 faces

14th century, Tibet, Vairocana, gilt metal with stone inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

14th century, Tibet, Vairocana, gilt metal with stone inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

There are several forms of Vairocana with four heads. The above has two hands, held in the gesture specific to this deity. He sits on a lotus base over a plinth decorated with snow lions and scrolled vegetation. The rich gilding and the extensive use of small gems indicate a Nepalese influence.

14th-c-tibet-vairocana-gilt-metal-4-faces-densatil-style-close-up-private-on-har

His celestial scarf forms an unusual tri-lobed arch around him. There is a half vajra finial on his head.

1500 circa, Tibet, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

1500 circa, Tibet, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

When Vairocana has four faces and two hands held in the meditation gesture he is known as Vajradhatu.

16th-c-tibet-vairocana-1500-cir-gilt-c-a-20-cm-cakra-christies

He supports a dharma wheel, as above, or an upright vajra.

Undated (16th century circa?), Tibet, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

Undated (16th century circa?), Tibet, Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

 

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