Tibet, Pehar

An emanation of the five dhyani buddha, the reincarnation of a demon subdued by Padmasambhava and turned into the main guardian deity of the Samye monastery, a dharmapala, an oracle used by the fifth Dalai Lama, this prominent deity is mainly seen on paintings. On a mandala he is placed at the centre and represents activity while another four deities, with different functions, titles and names, occupy the four cardinal points. In sculpture, the name Pehar tends to be given to any of these five aspects and also, mistakenly, to the three-head and six-hand form of Dorje Legpa, who also rides a lion but holds different attributes.

18th century, Tibet, Pehar, gilt copper alloy, at the National Gallery in Prague.

Pehar has three faces and six hands, in which he holds the following attributes: a knife and an iron hook in his upper hands, a bow and an arrow in his middle hands, a stick and a sword in his lower hands (no mention of a thunderbolt sceptre as on the above Chinese-style sculpture). Some authors describe him as wearing a leopard skin over his shoulders and a tiger skin loin cloth, while other sources mention a silk upper garment and a human skin, bone ornaments and jewellery, a garland of severed heads and a cane hat. He rides a white snow lion with a green mane.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese (made by a Tibetan artist for a Chinese patron), gilt bronze (copper alloy), source not quoted, published on fromacafe.blogspot.com.es

There are few metal sculptures of him and most of them are late and were made for Chinese worshippers. The above has a tiger skin around his waist, the paws of the animal are dangling at the front. He is adorned with a garland of freshly severed human heads and stone inlaid jewellery. His upper hands hold a flayed human skin over his silk top.

Same as before, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Undated, Tibet?, Pehar, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Another two examples of  him holding a thunderbolt sceptre in one hand.

Undated, Tibeto-Chinese, Pehar, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

 

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