Tibet, Vajradhara – alone (18)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s .

14th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with silver and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Pundole’s, sale M0009 lot 38.

Late 16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (brass) with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo on Christie’s, Paris .

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze with traces of polychromy, private collection, photo on Christie’s, Paris .

Vajradhara, seated with his legs locked and holding a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell in his hands crossed over his heart.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with turquoise inlay, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie 11th June 2009.

Alternatively, his attributes are supported by lotuses he holds in his hands, always crossed over his heart.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (brass) restored, private collection, photo Christie’s, Paris .

Tibet, Ratnasambhava (4)

14th-15th century (or later?), Tibet, Ratnasambhava, gilt copper, private collection, photo on Lempertz   

We saw a 15th century Amoghasiddhi here  very likely from the same atelier, also with loops on each side of the plinth and a lower rim that fitted into a larger base. They wear the same type of jewellery, Chinese-style silk shawl and ample dhoti gathered loosely over the lotus seat (pointing to the 15th century or later rather than earlier).

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, copper alloy with traces of gilding, private collection, photo on Florence Number Nine

Ratnasambhava always holds his right arm palm upwards in the gesture of generosity, while the left hand his cupped in the meditation gesture. Portable sculptures from the Himayalas often depict him with a bodhisattva appearance. On this example the crown is missing.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, copper alloy with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Beaussant-Lefèvre.

Ratnasambhava with a buddha appearance.

17th century, Tibet, Ratnasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Florence Number Nine 

He may hold a small gem or have one embossed in the palm of his hand. The above figure has a diamond incised on his palm and holds a bowl in his left hand. The hole on the plinth of the lotus base suggests something was attached below the large eight-petal lotus.

Tibet, Vajrasattva (15)

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt bronze, photo on Kapoor Galleries

Vajrasattva with one head and two hands, seated with his legs locked, holding an upright vajra sceptre before his heart and a vajra bell towards him at hip level.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, bronze (copper alloy), turquoise, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 736 China 4.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.The bell in his left hand is usually upturned.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Bruun Rasmussen on Barneby’s .

17th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy with traces of gold paint, private collection, photo on Doyle

17th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy with traces of cold paint (and stone inlay), private collection, photo on Doyle as above, lot 250.

17th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva (labelled ‘Vajradhara’)and consort, wood with traces of polychromy, private collection, photo on Tessier-Sarrou.

A rare wooden sculpture of Vajradhara in embrace with his consort, holding a vajra sceptre behind her back and a vajra bell near his hip.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – unusual works (9)

11th century, Western Tibet, Guge kingdom, Shakyamuni, brass, private collection, after G. Tucci in Tibet, Land of Snows, London 1967, ill. p 177.

An early and powerful image of the historical buddha with Pala-style facial features, his urna slightly off centre above the unibrow, a large lotus bud finial on his chingon, his tight-fitting robe decorated with a zig-zag incision along the hem, the punched navel and the straight waist of his lower garment showing through the thin fabric, two layers of cloth gathered in thick folds below his ankles.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 736 China 4.

A dark bronze figure with silver-inlaid eyes and a very thick unibrow, no urna, no nipples (as is often the case on early Tibetan works), seated on an unusual lotus base with a row of beading between the two lotuses and more beading at the top and at the bottom. The small piece of cloth over his left shoulder forms a geometrical shape with a pointed end. We will note the small feet and the thick hands with three fingers almost the same length.

17th-18th century (or earlier?), Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (brass with silver-inlaid or painted eyes?), private collection, photo isabelle Bresset on artcurial

Seated on a double-lotus base with small plump petals associated with the (circa) 12th century, his pile of thick hair curls topped with a double lotus bud finial, no nipples visible, this buddha with delicate hands wears an inner and an outer robe with a thick hem, and a lower garment with an embroidered border. A raised urna is placed at the centre of his thin unibrow.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, ivory with traces of gilding, private collection, photo on Beaussant-Lefèvre

A rare ivory sculpture of the historical buddha seated on a squarish lotus base, his right foot in an unnatural position, a long piece of fabric going over his left shoulder and down his chest.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, separate base, private collection, photo by Koller.

Instead of a plain or patched robe, this buddha with large limbs wears a garment made of long strips of fabric sewn together.

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, steatite with red and black lacquer, private collection, photo on Drouot .

A rare stone sculpture of a buddha with a cloak knotted at the front and covering both shoulders.

Tibet, crowned buddha (6)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass, private collection, photo on Millon .

Unlike buddhas with a bodhisattva appearance, the crowned historical buddha wears a sanghati and either no jewellery (especially in Tibet) or just some earrings and sometimes a necklace. The above has a five-leaf crown with three jewels at the front and his low chignon is topped with a rather disproportionate lotus bud finial. We will note the sharp unibrow and the large raised urna on his forehead.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), property from the estate of Brook Astor, photo on Sotheby’s .

This buddha with broad limbs and harmonious proportions was very likely cast by a Newari artist. His thick snail-like curls are topped with a minute lotus bud finial.

15th century, Tibet, crowned buddha, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on Bonhams .

A rare and curious case of a crown with six leaves, each with an effigy of a buddha. Since the standard crown represents the five wisdom buddhas, we may assume that the sixth character is Shakyamuni himself.

From left to right the first buddha does the gesture of supreme generosity with his right hand, the second ‘turns the wheel of dharma‘ with both hands, the third seems to have both hands cupped but on close inspection he probably touches the ground with his right hand, which could correspond to Ratnasambhava, Vairocana and Akshobhya.

The fourth buddha also does the dharmacakra mudra, the fifth has both hands in the meditation gesture, the sixth  does the fear-allaying gesture, which could correspond to Shakyamuni preaching, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo on   Drouot

18th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni (labelled ‘Amitabha’), copper repoussé with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Gros & Delettrez.

Tibet, Medicine Buddha (9)

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

The main medicine buddha holds an arura fruit in his right hand, facing palm out, and a bowl filled with nectar in the other, always placed over his lap in the meditation gesture.

16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt bronze, cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo on Nagel .

On occasions he holds a branch of the arura tree laden with fruit in his right hand. The above has a ritual vase in his left hand containing a large open lotus topped with the effigy of Amitabha.

18th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Nagel .

This one also holds a branch with date-like fruit in his right hand. The vase in his left hand contains something that looks similar, although it could be a stalk with lotus buds.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, bronze and silvered steel throne with cold gold (later backplate, probably Chinese?), private collection, on origineexpert 21st July 2013 lot 235.

Tibet, various buddhas (5)

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Nagaraja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on GG-ART   

Nageshvara/Nagaraja, with a naga-hood made of seven snakes, his fingers knitted in a gesture specific to him.

13th century, Tibet, Vajravidarana, wood with traces of gilding and lacquer, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

Vajravidarana with a peaceful face and princely attire (white form), holding a (missing) visvajra before his heart and a vajra bell against his left hip.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Virasena, gilt bronze, private collection, photo and details on Bonhams  

Virasena, identified through an inscription on the back of the sculpture, is one of the 35 buddhas of confession. He is depicted holding the stem of lotuses that support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript.