Tibet, Achala (11)

12th century, Tibet, Achala, copper alloy, at the Newark Museum (USA).

Achala, in his most popular (white) form, standing on an elephant-headed victim, his right knee bent, clad in a tiger skin loin cloth, brandishing a sword in one hand and holding a lasso in the other. He has three eyes, a mitre-like coiffure, a small foliate tiara and a long snake worn as a sacred thread.

Undated, Tibet, Achala, copper alloy, at the Palace Museum in Beijing, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This one stands on an unusual base with an open row of petals below the double lotus. His flaming hair is shaped like a fan and he wears a snake around his waist.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Achala, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

We can see on this example how his upper fangs bite his lower lip and how his left hand does a threatening gesture with the forefinger raised (tarjani mudra) while holding the lasso. The victim he tramples has a human face.

Undated (12th century circa?), Tibet, Achala, copper alloy, at the Palace Museum in Beijing, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

He may be half crouching and half kneeling, as on this Pala-style sculpture.

13th century, Western Tibet, Achala, copper alloy and pigments, at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, published on Wikimedia Commons.

His flaming hair, fastened with a snake and painted with orange pigment, has been given yet another shape. It is topped with a flaming jewel on a lotus.

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