Tibet, various mahasiddhas (8)

12th century, Tibet or Nepal, Mahasiddha, possibly Krishnacharya (Kanha), gilt copper and pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The Indian adept holds a skull cup in his right hand and seems to have had another object in his left hand, probably a drum or a vajra sceptre judging by the way he holds it. This iconography corresponds to various famous mahasiddhas, and some mahasiddhas can be depicted in several ways so it is difficult to identify them without an inscription on the base.

Late 15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

And even with an inscription on the back of the pedestal, it is not always clear who we are looking at. This particular one reads ‘homage to pha.rkon.tshan.ras.chen’. We saw a similar image of a certain Tenzin Lundrup with the same headdress. The above is seated on a tiger skin, and, like Virupa, he holds a skull cup in his left hand and does a pointing gesture with the other.

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, bronze (copper alloy) and pigments private collection.

This character is saluting with his right hand and holds a skull cup with a large spherical object (jewel?) in it.

17th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and red pigment, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This wrathful character wears a leopard skin loincloth and a human hide on his back. He holds a stick topped with a skull and may have had a skull cup in his left hand. The position of his legs suggests he was riding a mount, now missing. Some figures labelled ‘mahasiddha‘ are depicted with a semi-wrathful face and blue hair. This one has red flaming hair and looks rather like a wrathful deity.

18th century, Tibet (or India?), gilt bronze (copper alloy), same as before.

An unusual sculpture of a bearded man wearing a conical headdress, his right hand doing the teaching gesture, the other holding a manuscript, seated on an oval lotus base with incised petals, over a stepped rectangular plinth.



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