Pala India, various female deities

10th century, Northeast India, Bihar, Vasudhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The goddess of wealth is depicted here in her one-head and six-hand form, her upper right hand doing the gesture to accompany music, the one on the other side holding a manuscript. Her middle hands hold raining jewels and a sheaf of rice grain. There is a long-life vase in her lower left hand, the other does the gesture of knowledge. The artist has used silver-inlay for her urna and her longer necklace.

11th century, Northeast India, Vajratara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This form of Tara has four heads and eight hands holding various attributes including a vajra, a bow, an arrow, a lotus, a conch shell, a noose.

Her hair is pulled into a single chignon topped with a vajra finial.

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Bengal, Tara, bronze, private collection, published on http://www.the-saleroom.com

This multi-armed (4 or 6?) form appears to hold a a club and a lotus in her upper hands, and a fruit or a gem in the lower right hand.

12th-13th century, Northeast India, Tara, copper alloy, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

White Tara, her legs locked in the vajra position, has three eyes on her face and eyes in the palm of her hands and the sole of her feet. She displays the gesture of supreme generosity with her right hand while bestowing refuge with the other. The stem of a (broken) lotus goes round her left arm and there was another lotus springing from the base to her right side.

 

 

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Pala India, various female deities

12th century, Northeast India, Vajravarahi, brass, private collection, photo by Christie's.

12th century, Northeast India, Vajravarahi, brass, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Vajravarahi has a human head with three eyes and a sow’s head sticking out of hers. She holds a flaying knife, a skull cup and a ritual staff (khatvanga) and treads on a female victim with her left foot, her left knee resting on a lotus bud that stems from the base. She is adorned with a five-skull crown, jewellery, a festooned belt and a garland of severed heads.

12th century, Northern India, Vajravarahi, copper alloy, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

12th century, Northern India, Vajravarahi, copper alloy, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

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On this example (with a broken knife and missing skull cup), the artist has made extensive use of silver and copper inlay for her accessories. Having been worshipped in Tibet, her face is painted with cold gold and her hair with orange pigment (reserved to deities with a wrathful appearance).

12th century, India, Nairatmya, brass, same as before.

12th century, India, Nairatmya, brass, same as before.

Nairatmya, female buddha and meditational deity, has one head with three eyes, orange hair topped with a half-vajra finial,  and holds the same attributes as Vajravarahi. She may stand on one or two victims (as above).

11th century, Northern India, Marici, gilt metal, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

11th century, Northern India, Marici, gilt metal, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This form of Marici, the goddess of dawn, is known as ‘kalpoktam’. She has three heads (two human heads and the head of a sow)  and eight hands, in which she holds various attributes. On this well-preserved sculpture, she stands on a double lotus over a stepped base which has many legs and is adorned with pigs at the front. The mandorla behind her has a serrated edge (symbolising flames) and is topped with an effigy of Amitabha and a stupa.

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There is a pig-headed figure standing on her head. In her hands she holds a vajra and a branch of the asoka tree, a bow, a hook and an arrow (all three missing), a needle and a thread (her specific attributes). The lower left hand does a wrathful gesture.

 

Pala India, Green Tara

12th century, Northeast India, Tara, brass with silver and copper inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

12th century, Northeast India, Tara, brass with silver and copper inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

Green Tara is seated on an embroidered cushion (similar to those used on earlier works from Gilgit) on a Pala-style double lotus base, her right foot resting on a lotus, her hands doing the dharmacakra mudra, wearing an incised ankle-length dhoti and heavy jewellery. There is a tall lotus flower to her right and a tall lotus blossom to her left, the stem of which passes over her inner arm. Her left leg is resting on her right thigh (rather than being drawn in as below).

12th century, Northeast India, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

12th century, Northeast India, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This Green Tara holds her right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity and wears a three-leaf crown.