13th-14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy, photo by Marchance auctioneers.
This blissful character could, in fact, be Vajrapani, who may be seated between lotuses that support his attributes, but then he would do two different gestures with his hands instead of having them both in the meditation gesture. The lotus are fastened to his elbows and painted with red pigment. To his right, the vajra sceptre is placed horizontally, to his left, the bell stands vertically.
From time to time we come across Tibetan sculptures with an oversized head. This usually indicates that it was cast separately (although it may not be the case with the above). He wears a crown with only three foliate panels, set wide apart, and has a conical chignon dyed with blue pigment.
Although buddhas normally sit in the vajra position, Vajrasattva may sit with his right leg unfolded, his foot resting on a lotus bud attached to the base.
This masterpiece depicts whim with princely accessories inlaid with clear gems and hard stones, the ribbons of his crown and his earrings shaped like buds, his celestial scarf acting as a frame and forming small loops at elbow level.
His chignon is topped with a lotus and flaming jewel finial. The face has been painted with cold gold and pigments, the hair dyed with blue pigment (probably renovated recently).
The cross belt, the matching festooned belt to hold the lower garment and the ample dhoti incised with a floral motif correspond to Chinese fashion.
16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Christie’s.