Tibet, various kings (2)

14th century, Tibet, dharma king, gilt copper with cold gold and pigments, at the Potala in Lhasa, published on asianart.com in Michael Henss’s review of the exhibition and corresponding book ‘Tibet – Monasteries Open their Treasure Rooms’.

This character with a kingly appearance wears a three-leaf crown inlaid with stones, a fine outer robe with embroidered collar and cuffs, two chokers and small lotus earrings. His hands, in the meditation gesture, may have held an attribute. Experts don’t seem to agree as to whether this is an idealised portrait of an historical king or whether it is in fact a deity, such as Amitayus, although the overcoat held in place with a belt suggests the former.

15th century, Tibet, King Trisong Detsen, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Trisong Detsen normally has both hands in the turning-the-wheel-of-dharma gesture, or holds a wheel of dharma with both hands. He doesn’t always have a vajra finial on his chignon as above.

Probably King Songtsen Gampo, Tibet, 18th century, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The way this noble man holds his right hand, with the forefinger pressed against the thumb, is associated with king Songtsen Gampo, whose (broken) headdress would have been topped with an effigy of Amitabha. He is seated on an animal skin (antelope or deer) over two cushions covered with a cloth (typical of the 18th century).

18th century, Tibet, king, parcel gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel.

This unidentified Tibetan king has a raining jewel in his right hand and another object in the left hand. There is a set of three flaming jewels (triratna) on top of his head.

A view of the back shows us that his hair is wrapped in cloth, and his robe decorated with an incised visvajra (double thunderbolt sceptre) motif.

 

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