Tibet, Phagpa Lokeshvara – variants (2)

11th century, Tibet, Phagpa Lokeshvara, wood, collection of Navin Kumar, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Unlike the prototype at the Potala, this sculpture depicts him with his legs and torso straight, a broad chest, square shoulders, a broad sash…

no effigy on the front panel of his tall crown, and a squarer face with Tibetan facial features.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Phagpa Lokeshvara, gilt wood and pigment, on loan at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

On the contrary, this one has a very thin waist, his torso is slightly bent to one side, cold gold has been applied all over…

…  his facial features have been painted with pigments. There is an effigy of himself at the front of his crown. One peculiarity is the row of hair locks arranged vertically at the front rather, than diagonally.

His lower garment is richly decorated with a floral/lotus motif and held in place with a matching belt.

18th century (late 17th century has also been suggested), Tibet, Phagpa Lokeshvara, gilt wood with traces of red paint, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

With this late copy, we are back to the stiff pose.

The lotiform earrings have a longer and sharper protuberance (pistil).

Whereas it would make sense to apply cold gold on all the naked parts of the body, it is not clear why the crown, earrings and part of the dhoti have also been painted, especially as the garment and the belt have a gold motif on a plain background.

17th-18th century (an earlier date, 16th-17th century, has also been suggested for this piece), Tibet, Phagpa Lokeshvara, polychrome wood, same as before.

These pieces are so beautifully crafted that the mind tends to make abstraction of the broken or missing limbs because the spiritual dimension of the image is still powerfully transmitted.

This one has a Malla-style beaked nose, the lips are painted with red pigment, his crown is incised with a geometrical motif.

This view of the back confirms that the crown only has three leaves, all at the front and gives us an idea of the complexity of his hair style.


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