Tibet, Vajrasattva – seated (11)

16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, copper alloy, same as before.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, copper alloy, private collection, on Himalayan Art Resources.

The deity sits rather rigidly on a double-lotus base with pointed petals, his broad shoulders covered with a shawl that goes round the arms before ending in a serpentine shape.

16th-c-tibet-vajrasattva-c-a-4699-cm-vajra-finial-shelleydonald-rubin-on-har

He wears innovative oval earrings with a scrolled leaf at the centre, discreet necklaces and bracelets. His crown is made of five pointed foliate panels, large bows and serpentine ribbons matched by a few spiky strands of hair.

16th-c-tibet-vajrasattva-c-a-4699-cm-floral-border-shelleydonald-rubin-on-har

The dhoti, draped in the Chinese fashion and covering most of the pedestal, is held in place with a festooned belt. The hem of the garment is decorated with a floral border.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

Partly inspired by the Indian Pala style, this figure has a low crown with the effigy of a buddha at the front, large bows and incised ribbons, his chignon topped with a rather bulky half-vajra. He wears an incised dhoti with a piped hem, a Chinese-style scarf with broad loops at elbow level and serpentine ends, coarse beaded jewellery and a matching belt. The attributes are slightly oversized and the vajra sceptre is held horizontally.

17th-18th-c-tibet-vajrasattva-gilt-c-a-14-cm-back-mossgreen

A view of the back shows us that he wears a festooned belt, that the dhoti is incised throughout and that the lotus petals continue all the way round.

18th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

18th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

It is unusual for Vajrasattva to have his left leg unfolded (rather than the right one) and the position of his hands doesn’t correspond to the various ways he may hold the vajra sceptre or the bell.

 

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