Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (2)

9th century, Central Tibet, labelled Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published by

9th century, Central Tibet, labelled Vairocana, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published by Dr Pratapaditya Pal.

Amitayus/Amitabha is the only dhyani buddha whose hands are both held in the meditation gesture. Amitayus is normally depicted with a bodhisattva appearance and he holds a long-life vase. On this Indian-style work he wears a crown with a crescent moon and leaf design, some jewellery and an incised sash across his chest. His striped ankle-length dhoti is also decorated with an incised pattern. The vase is missing.

14th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

14th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

The rich gilding and small stone and coral cabochons indicate a Nepalese influence but this type of double-lotus base with curly petal tips and discreet beading is known as ‘Yongle-style’, from the Chinese emperor of the same name  (1360-1424).

Same as before, is or was at the Potala in Lhasa, published by Urlich von Schroeder.

Same as before, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

When seated, which is nearly always the case, dhyani buddhas have their legs folded in the vajra position. If the figure is dressed and adorned like a bodhisattva and both hands are in the meditations gesture, we are looking at Amitayus.

Same as before, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Same as before, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This buddha is framed by lotuses and his celestial scarfs forms an elaborate arch around him. His face is painted with cold gold and pigments. His calf-length dhoti reveals elaborate anklets studded with stones (and possibly coral).

Same as before.

Same as before.

The celestial scarf used as a frame was a recurrent feature around the 13th to the early 15th century in Tibet.

14th-15th century, same as before, photo by Sotheby's.

14th-15th century, same as before, photo by Sotheby’s.

The above wears a striped dhoti decorated with a stippled floral design. His crown and jewellery are inlaid with turquoise and lapis lazuli.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, brass with cold gold and pigments, stone inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, brass with cold gold and pigments, stone inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

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