Tibet, Amitabha (4)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt bronze with pigments, private collection, photo by Polyauction.

Amitabha sits in the vajra position, his hands cupped to hold a bowl.

15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, copper fusion (alloy) with traces of polychromy, private collection, photo by Florence Number Nine, 2013.

An example with painted facial features.

15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt bronze, at the National Gallery in Prague (Czech Republic).

Occasionally he holds a long-life vase (not necessarily the original attribute) normally associated with his other aspect, Amitayus, who has a princely appearance.

16th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel.

Tibet, Amitabha (3)

15th c. cir., Tibet, gilt bronze, Amitabha, 22 cm, Sotheby's

Amitabha, with a plump face and a turquoise-inlaid urna, holding a begging bowl, the border of his robe is decorated with a chased pattern and a row of thick beading.

15th century, Tibet, Amitabha (labelled Amitayus), gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Drouot.

We have seen a few case of the wisdom buddha  Amitabha holding a long-life vase instead of a begging bowl.

18th century, Tibet, Amitabha or Shakyamuni? labelled Amitayus, bronze (brass), school of Chöying Dorje, private collection, photo by Koller.

Late sculptures often depart from the standard iconography and this buddha seated on a lion throne, with both shoulders covered and a flame of enlightenment coming out of his chignon could be the historical buddha. The figure has Chinese-style facial features and sits on  a lotus base inspired by the Kashmir/Swat Valley style. He holds a long-life vase normally associated with his Amitayus aspect, but Amitayus always has a bodhisattva appearance.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.The above holds a jar filled with nectar.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Amitabha.

The same, dressed with embroidered silk garments.

18th century, Tibet, Amitabha, copper alloy with cold gold and paint, private collection, photo by Koller.

 

Tibet, Amitabha (2)

15th c., Central Tibet, 2nd half, Amitabha, gilt cop. rep.+pig., 75 cm, Freer Sackler gallery

Second half of 15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper repoussé and pigments, at the Freer Sackler Gallery at the Smithonian Insitution in Washington D.C. (USA).

Seated in the vajra position on a single lotus with the petals going downwards, both hands in the meditation gesture to hold a (missing) bowl, Amitabha has a round chignon topped with a lotus bud finial, a squarish face with a tiny mouth, large ears, marked pectorals and fleshy fingers and toes. His garments are draped in the Chinese fashion and decorated with an incised border.

15th c., Western Tibet, Amitabha, c.a.+sil. eyes, 13,5 cm, Guge period, 09118 Sotheby's

15th century, Western Tibet, Guge period (revival?), Amitabha, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This buddha has a small oval face with flat ears and silver-inlaid eyes that recall the much earlier Kashmiri style. He sits on a lotus base with two rows of broad petals, his robe is incised throughout and draped like the previous one, with the the lower part folded into a neat shape that imitates the petals of the pedestal.

16th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy, at the Liverpool Museum (UK).

16th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy, at the Liverpool Museum (UK).

This Amitabha with a small triangular face is seated on a cushion over a lotus with long stamens, wearing a robe that covers both shoulders (like seated buddhas of the Nepalese Licchavi period), his dhoti showing below the sanghati.

18th century, same as before, at the British Museum in London (UK).

18th century, same as before, at the British Museum in London (UK).

Instead of wearing a patched monastic robe that denotes humility, this buddha wears a luxury silk garment richly decorated with incisions and beading.

Tibet, Amitabha-Amitayus (2)

15th c., Tibet, Amitabha, gilt c.a.+stone inlay, 12,8 cm, lab. Amitayus, Pundoles

15th century, Tibet, Amitayus (or Amitabha?), gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, photo by Pundole’s.

Amitayus and Amitabha are two aspects of the same deity, with both hands in the meditation gesture. The former has a bodhisattva appearance and holds a long-life vase, the latter has a buddha appearance and normally holds an alms bowl.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitayus (or Amitabha?), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The above wears a loosely draped sanghati decorated with an incised border. His face is painted with cold gold and pigments, his hair is dyed with blue pigment.

Tibet, Amitabha

Amitabha is normally depicted seated, his hands cupped to hold a begging bowl (often missing), and has a buddha appearance.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper with cold gold and pigment, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper with cold gold and pigment, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Amitabha, sitting on a Nepalese-style lotus base. His robe covers both shoulders but leaves the chest and right arm uncovered, it has a broad and finely incised hem.

Same as above.

Same as above.

The above figure has a striped robe that covers the left shoulder only. One end of the garment rests over his left shoulder, forming a straight line, the lower part of his dhoti is neatly arranged in a scallop shape in front of him.

15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's.

15th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

Occasionally, the end of the garment over the shoulder has a trapezoidal shape.

16th century circa, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's

16th century circa, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

More often than not, it has a fishtail shape.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie's.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitabha, gilt copper alloy and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

These variations apply to any buddha dressed in monastic robe.

Tibet, Amitabha-Amitayus

13th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper, photo by Ulrich von Schroeder.

13th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper with cold gold and pigment, photo by Ulrich von Schroeder.

15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, photo by Christie's.

15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, photo by Christie’s.

15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, photo by Eleanor Abraham.

15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay and pigment, photo by Eleanor Abraham.

Same as above, photo by Christie's

Same as above, photo by Christie’s

In theory, Amitayus always has a bodhisattva appearance and holds a long-life vase.  These figures with a buddha appearance are probably Amitabha, holding a long-life vase instead of a begging bowl.

 

Tibet, a Chinese-style Amitabha

16th century, Tibet, buddha Amitabha, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

16th century, Tibet, buddha Amitabha, gilt copper alloy, photo by Koller.

Apart from the rather stern facial features which are not typical of Tibetan works, this buddha wears a robe that covers both shoulders very loosely, forms deep folds across the chest and cover his legs very loosely. The way the fabric is gathered in thick pleats under his breast also points to a Chinese influence. The begging bowl is missing from his cupped hands.