Tibet, Mahasiddha Ghantapa

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Ghantapada, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Ghantapa (or Ghantapada), ‘The Celibate Bell Ringer’, brandishes a vajra sceptre in his right hand and holds a bell (ghanta) in the other. He wears a conical headdress with a half-vajra finial, princely jewellery, a body belt with a rice-grain pattern that matches the hem of his calf-length garment.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

This figure, seated on an antelope skin and holding the same attributes could be Ghantapa.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Ghantapa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Cornette de Saint-Cyr.

Quite a different portrait of the same man, his tongue pulled irreverently, the eyes bulging out, coiffed with a floral crown with long ribbons and adorned with serpentine bracelets and sacred thread, a beaded necklace and anklets.

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