Tibet, various dakinis

15th-16th century, Tibet, Kurukulla, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Kurukulla is a tantric meditational deity with a dakini appearance (naked, standing on one leg, adorned with wrathful ornaments). She has one head and two to eight arms.

The above has four arms and holds a bow and arrow in the upper left hand, the stem of a plant in the lower one. Her upper right hand does the ‘fingers crossed’ gesture, the lower one holds an elephant goad ( vajra hook).

18th century, Tibet (or Tibeto-Chinese?), Kurukulla, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Prima Porta Antiquities.

A more modern work with the same iconography but Chinese-style features and accessories.

13th century, probably Tibet, dakini Chandali, metal with gilding and pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Chandali normally holds a wheel (cakra) and a plough, or a corpse and a heart. This dakini holds an axe in her left hand and another object, possibly a vajra sceptre, in her right hand.

13th century, probably Tibet, dakini Gauri, gilt metal with pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Gauri holds a fish in her left hand and a flaying knife in the other.

16th-17th century, Central Tibet, dakini, bronze (copper alloy), at the Patan Museum.

Possibly Vajrayogini, the above holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

Undated (15th-16th century?), Tibet, Tsang province, Machig Labdron, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This historical female teacher is normally depicted as a wisdom dakini, with one head and three eyes, two hands in which she holds a drum and a bell, two legs in a dancing posture, adorned with a five-leaf crown, bone  jewellery and a beaded belt or bone apron. Apart from adding a garland of skulls, the artist has made an interesting use of the celestial scarf on this example, using it as a frame and a support for her right knee.

A view of the back shows that she wears both a cross belt and a bone apron.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Machig Labdron, silver on a gilt copper alloy base, stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The same character in a seated position, with three eyes, the same attributes and richly stone-inlaid gilt jewellery (most stones now missing).

 

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