Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru

Of the 8 medicine buddhas, Bhaisajyaguru (named after a sutra) is the main one. He may be alone or with the other medicine buddhas and Shakyamuni or with Prajnaparamita, or in a set of 51 deities. He has one head, two hands, and wears monastic garments.

12th century circa, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

12th century circa, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This rare work depicts him seated on a brocaded cushion over a tall double-lotus base typical of Pala India. The eyes are inlaid with silver, the lips, nails, hem of the sanghati, and other features are inlaid with copper.

12th-c-cir-tibet-bhaisajyaguru-c-a-si-cop-inlay-148-cm-pala-style-back-nyingjei-lam-col-bonhams

The lotus petals go round the back of the pedestal.

12th-c-cir-tibet-bhaisajyaguru-c-a-si-cop-inlay-148-cm-pala-style-detail-of-inlay-bonhams

There is a leonine face with copper-inlaid eyes at the front of the cushion. In some texts, he is said to hold a lotus in each hand but here he only holds flowers in his right hand.

13th century, Tibet, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

13th century, Tibet, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

More often, he is shown holding a begging bowl in his left hand held in the meditation gesture and a fruit in the palm of his right hand.

Undated (probably 14th century), Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated (probably 14th century), Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

His head is always topped with a lotus bud finial.

15th-c-tibet-bhaisajyaguru-medicine-buddha-gilt-c-a-177-cm-fruitalm-bowl-incised-hems-traces-cold-g-pig-christies

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The fruit he holds is a variety of myrobalan known as arura. The above wears his sanghati over both shoulders although the right arm and breast are uncovered. The hem is decorated with beading and an incised geometrical pattern. The lower part of the lotus base is decorated with incised scrolls.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

 

 

 

 

 

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