Padmapani, early Malla period (8)

12th-14th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, bronze (copper alloy) with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Avalokiteshvara, in his padmapani form, wears a one-piece floral crown with large bows, matching accessories, a sacred thread, a sash across his hips and knotted at the back. Standing on an unusual single-lotus base with foliage on each side, he holds the stem of a large lotus in his left hand, the other displays generosity.

Circa 13th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt metal, stone inlay, photo by Tenzig Asian Art.

A seated version, the base missing, with a richly incised dhoti that reaches just below the knee, adorned with accessories inlaid with clear gems and turquoise, holding the stem of an eight-petal lotus with a raised centre.

14th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, stone inlay, at the Berkley Art Museum (USA), published on wikicommons.

The effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, the antelope skin over his shoulders, the accessories inlaid with turquoise and a red stone (to imitate coral) are more often seen in Tibet, perhaps this item was commissioned by a Tibetan patron.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper and gems, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

14th-15th century, same as before, photo by Christie’s.

This bodhisattva wears a long skirt-like garment typical of the period and a celestial scarf with serpentine ends going upwards in the Chinese fashion.

 

Advertisements

Nepal, early Malla Jambhala

14th century, Nepal, Yellow Jambhala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

The pot-bellied deity in his peaceful aspect, with a mongoose in is left hand and a citron in the other, adorned with a low tiara, princely jewellery, snakes, plus a showy celestial scarf. His right foot rests on a vase fastened to the rim of the lotus base. The red and yellow pigments were probably applied during an offering ceremony.

15th century, Nepal, (Yellow) Jambhala, bronze (copper alloy) with traces of red paint from offering, private collection, photo by Koller.

This one wears his scarf more discreetly, and the artist has added a flaming halo.

Undated, Nepal, Jambhala, copper alloy, private collection, photo published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The absence of a base accentuates the elongated torso and limbs of this large figure with a child-like head, low tiara and tall chignon. The belt placed high up across his waist is a singular feature.

 

Nepal, early Malla – wrathful figures

14th century, Nepal, White Achala, gilt copper alloy, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

Half kneeling and half crouching, Achala brandishes a sword above his head and holds a lasso in the other hand, with the fingers doing a gesture to ward off evil.

14th century, Nepal, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and pigment, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

A rare Vajrapani with a human face with three eyes, holding a vajra sceptre and a skull cup, standing on two victims, wrapped in a tiger skin loin cloth (the head of the animal against his left thigh), adorned with princely jewellery studded with gems, a festooned belt, a sacred thread and a garland of severed heads, standing under an arch decorated with vajra sceptres between two rows of thick beading.

13th or 14th century, Nepal, Hevajra, kapaladhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

This meditational deity is usually depicted in embrace with a consort whose identity varies. He has several “eight-head and sixteen hand” forms, the most popular being Guhyasamaja Hevajara, who holds skull cups (kapaladhara aspect) containing animals in his right hands and skull cups containing deities in the other, his four legs standing on victims.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Samvara and Vajravarahi, gilt bronze with pigments, at the British Museum in London (UK).

Chakrasamvara, with four heads and twelve hands, embraces his consort with his main hands, in which he holds a vajra sceptre and a bell. His upper hands hold an elephant hide stretched across his back, the other hands traditionally hold a drum, an axe, a flaying knife, a vajra-handled stick to his right, a skull cup, a noose, Brahma’s head with four faces, a staff, to his left, some of them missing here.

14th century, Nepal, chaturbhuja Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Mahakala in his four-hand form, holding a (broken) sword in his upper right hand, a skull cup and a flaying knife in his main hands, a (broken) staff in the upper left hand, seated on a suffocating victim, his right foot placed on a lotus stemming from the base. This iconography seems to have been favoured in Nepal. In Tibet the hands are often placed differently and hold a lotus bud (or a coconut) shaped like a human heart instead of a flaying knife.

 

Nepal, Shakyamuni – various styles (2)

14th century (1300-1350), Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

An athletic Gupta-style figure with marked pectorals and particularly long arms, previous dated 1200-1250 by the same auction house, holding a piece of his transparent robe in his left hand, his hair dyed with black pigment and topped with a small golden lotus bud finial.

14th-15th century, Nepal, Kathmandu Valley, Shakyamuni, copper repoussé with stone inlay, is or was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

This Nepalese-style buddha with rosettes over his ears wears a Chinese silk garment draped loosely over the left arm and decorated with an incised border. Although seen on earlier works, the piece of cloth half way down the left arm is a feature that became popular during the Malla period (from the 13th century onwards).

Circa 15th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Here, the buddha is seated on a double-lotus base under the arch of a very ornate prabhamandala so typical of Nepal, depicting two kinnaras supported by large lotuses, surrounded by scrolling vegetation and an outer row of flames. His sanghati is tightly drawn across his chest and decorated with an incised hem, a piece of the garment forming ‘swallow tail’ pleats over his left shoulder.

Circa 15th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Quite a different style, with spiky hair curls, a squarish face and generous lips, the silk robe loosely gathered and covering slightly the right shoulder in the Chinese fashion, its hem incised with a rice grain pattern and the rim of the base engraved with a foliate motif, both typical of Nepalese art.

Early 15th century (1409), Nepal, labelled ‘Shakyamuni or Akshobhya’, at the Kva Baha temple in Patan (Nepal), photo from the Huntington Archive.

Unlike the Amitayus from the same temple published in a recent post, this buddha has an oval face with heavy eyelids and almost no chin. His inner garment shows under his breast and the cloth over the shoulder form a singular zigzag pattern.

15th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

From the 15th century onwards, the influence from Chinese imperial workshops is very noticeable in Nepal and Tibet. On this example, the face is plump, with a double chin, the robe is made of soft silk, loosely gathered over the ankles and covering part of the brocaded cushion on which the buddha is seated, the hem is broad and decorated with an elegant floral pattern.

15th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, was at the Dolpo temple (Nepal), published by Ian Alsop on http://www.asianart.com, with the following  contact address: editors@asianart.com

Ian Alsop published this photo to report the theft of this fairly large (45 cm tall) and very special statue of the historical buddha, with an effigy of Machig Labdron on his chest and a vajra sceptre before him on the lotus base.

 

Nepal, early Malla buddhas – seated (5)

Circa 13th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The historical buddha, seated on a cushion and wearing a robe that covers both shoulders, holds a begging bowl in his hands cupped in the gesture of meditation.

He has a thin oval face with a generous lower lip, semi-closed almond-shaped eyes, thick hair curls, no visible urna on his forehead, a low ushnisha topped with a lotus bud finial.

13th-14th century, Nepal, copper, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

A similar image, with a prominent urna, the hem of his inner garment showing below the hem of his sanghati.

13th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, copper with traces of gilding, private collection, photo published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The transparent robe of this buddha reveals the waist of his lower garment forming a peak below a punched navel. The hem of the robe is decorated with four rows of fine beading and the lower part is pleated neatly in a fan shape over the cushion.

14th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

On rare occasions Shakyamuni is depicted with both nipples showing, one of them through the diaphanous sanghati he is wearing, possibly to highlight his human condition.

14th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, nearly pure copper with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The vast majority of early sculptures produced in Nepal were made of copper, to which a layer of gilding was added.

Circa 14th century, Nepal or Tibet, medicine buddha, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

The arura fruit in the palm of his right hand identifies this figure as the medicine buddha Bhaisajyaguru, whose only adornments are some large rosettes above his ears.

 

Nepal, rare statues – female characters

13th-14th century (or later?), Nepal, bodhisattva, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by S&R Asian Antique.

The large lotus she holds with her left hand would identify this female character as Green Tara but for the fact that she sits at royal ease, a pose  not normally used to depict female buddhas or bodhisattva.

14th century, Nepal, female, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Cornette de Saint-Cyr.

This peaceful-looking deity adorned with princely jewellery holds wrathful implements: a hook (elephant goad) and a noose in her upper hands, a bow and arrows in the lower ones. This set of attributes is associated with a 4-hand form of Kurukulla. The three-legged seat is typical of Nepal.

14th century, Nepal, labelled ‘protector goddess’, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Another smiling character, holding a sword, an arrow, a drum, a skull cup in some of her right hands, a bow, a water pot, a conch shell on the other side, various attributes are missing. We have not registered any one-head and twelve-hand deity so far.

Sculptures with so many arms normally have three or four heads. In this case there is only one. It may be a local variant of a multi-armed deity.

15th century, Nepal, Shadakshari Mahavidya, gilt copper alloy, is or was at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

The female version of Shadakshari Lokeshvara is more often seen on paintings and usually depicted as an attendant rather than a central deity. Behind her is a very ornate backplate that includes attendants, mythical creatures, scrolls of vegetation, and a large garuda at the top.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Mahasiddha Manibhadara, stone, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

This work depicts Manibhadra under a mango tree, an eviscerated dog lying at her feet. Manibhadra is one of only four women among the famous eighty-four mahasiddhas (tantric adepts) from India recognised in tantric buddhism.

 

Nepal, early Malla Vasudhara (3)

13th-14th century, Nepal, Vasudhara, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Kapoor Galleries.

Vasudhara, goddess of wealth and harvest, in her popular one-head and six-hand form, seated with a leg pendant, her foot placed on a lotus stemming from the (missing) base.

Circa 1300, Nepal, Vasudhara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Her top right hand invariably does a gesture related to the accomplishment of music, while the middle hands display a bunch of jewels (right hand) and a sheaf of rice grain (left hand).

14th-15th century, Nepal, Vasudhara, gilt copper alloy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Her lower right hand is always held down with the palm open and may hold a fruit or a lotus bud. Among her usual attributes, the Prajnaparamita sutra is either in one of her left hands (lower or upper) or it is supported by a lotus, as above.

15th-16th century, Nepal, Vasudhara, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

A long-life vase is held in the lower or upper left hand.

15th century (or later?), Nepal (or Tibet?), labelled ‘Vasudhara’, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Armandantiques.

Her right foot my be placed on a long-life vase as above, but she normally has one or two heads whereas this  figure has got three, and holds a rosary in her top right hand.