Tibet, Askhobhya (9)

Always seated with his legs locked, Akshobhya, whose name means ‘the unshakeable one’, represents consciousness and touch, and protects against anger. He belongs to the vajra family and his mount or the animal supporting his throne is the elephant (although on rare occasions he sits on a lion throne with a vajra sceptre at the front of the plinth, not on top of it).

13th-14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, copper alloy with copper-inlaid hem and necklace, 21 cm, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s

Akshobhya in his sambhogakaya form, his ‘inverted omega shape’ scarf floating behind him, the ribbons of his tall five-leaf crown (broken at the front) forming prominent side bows (we saw a similar feature on Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet ). He is wearing the long dhoti and Indian-style jewellery usually seen on such brass figures produced in Tibet during the 13th and the 14th century (and a little beyond).

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, gilt bronze with pigment, 25 cm, private collection, Asian Art lot 3093, 2nd December 2021, Poly Auction (Hong Kong).

Sometimes the scarf is replaced by lotuses springing from the base.

15th-16th century, Tibet, a crowned buddha, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, auction A201AS lot 109, 1st June 2022, Koller.

The bare chest and the full set of jewellery differentiate this figure from the historical buddha in his crowned appearance – the latter who would wear a sanghati and hardly any jewellery, if any.

15th century, Tibet, Akshobhya, gilt bronze, 21 cm, private collection, Asian Art lot 3103, 2nd December 2021, Poly Auction (Hong Kong).

The same tathagata in his buddha appearance, seated on a throne supported by elephants and decorated with a dharma wheel at the front. He holds an upright vajra sceptre in his left hand.

 

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