Tibet, Padmasambhava – different forms (6)

Apart from his normal peaceful form, Padmasambhava, the Indian master who co-founded Tibetan buddhism during the 8th century and acquired cult status in the 11th century, may be depicted under another eight forms, some peaceful, some wrathful or semi-wrathful.

15th century, Tibet, Orgyen Dorje Chang? (labelled ‘Samvara and consort’), gilt bronze, private collection, private collection, auction 796 lot 52, 23rd June 2021, Nagel.

Orgyen Dorje Chang (Oddiyana Vajradhara in sanscrit) has a semi-wrathful countenance, with a third eye, and sits in embrace with his consort, Mandarava, who holds a skull cup and a flaying knife. He holds a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell, but not with his hands crossed over her back like Vajradhara.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze, private collection, Asian Art lot 7193, 18th September 2010, Koller.

18th century, Tibet, Loden Chogse, gilt bronze, private collection, Indian & Southeast Asian Art lot 1396, 20th March 2009, Christie’s.

Loden Chogse wears kingly attire (including long-sleeve upper garments), boots, a scarf, a crown, and princely jewellery. He is always seated, with his legs locked or in a relaxed manner, and holds a drum at shoulder level in is right hand and a skull cup in the other, before his chest.

18th century, Tibet, Pema Gyalpo, gilt bronze, private collection, Indian & Southeast Asian Art lot 1396, 20th March 2009, Christie’s.

Pema Gyalpo has the same appearance and also has a drum in his right hand, but he holds a mirror or a bowl containing a mirror in the other. (Loden Chogse sometimes holds a mirror in his left hand, in which case he has a skull cup in his right hand).

18th century, Tibet, Nyima Oser, gilt bronze, private collection, Indian & Southeast Asian Art lot 1396, 20th March 2009, Christie’s.

Nyima Oser has a mahasiddha appearance, he sits in a relaxed manner, wearing only an undergarment and a thin scarf, adorned with a skull crown, bone jewellery, a cross-belt. He holds a ritual staff (khatvanga) and sun rays/a sun disc or a lasso (both attributes missing here).

18th century, Tibet, Pema Jungne, gilt bronze, private collection, Indian & Southeast Asian Art lot 1396, 20th March 2009, Christie’s.

Pema Jungne wears monkish garb, sometimes without the vest, and is always coiffed with a pandita hat. He holds a bowl in his right hand while the other may express a variety of gestures, in this case the gesture of debate.

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