Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (8)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel

A rare work depicting the medicine buddha seated on a lotus base with large script around the plinth, an arura fruit (terminalia chebula) between his thumb and forefinger, a bowl in his left hand, the border of his outer garment decorated with a large rice grain pattern.

14th-15th century, Tibet, medicine buddha, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Koller https://www.kollerauktionen.ch.

Bhaisajyaguru holds the fruit in the palm of his right hand with one or various fingers raised to keep it in place.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Nagel

15th-16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (labelled Ratnasambhava), gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Dreweatts.

The fruit, used in Tibetan medicine, is oval with longitudinal ridges rather like a rugby ball.

Circa 16th century, sman bla (Bhaisajyaguru’s name in Tibetan), gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Fabrice Gousset for aaoarts .

In his left hand he holds a begging bowl or a small medicine jar with a lid.

16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper, photo by the Simon Norton Art Foundation.

Bhaisajyaguru may be depicted alone or with the other seven buddhas of medicine or in a set of 51 deities including Prajnaparamita and the yaksha generals.

 

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Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (7)

14th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

The main medicine buddha always holds an arura fruit in his right hand, held palm out, and a bowl of nectar, sometimes described as a medicine jar (missing here) in the other.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

Traditionally, he wears a patched robe that denotes humility. The above is dressed in soft Chinese silk garments with a richly incised border and has Nepalese-style rosettes above the ears. Often labelled ‘myrobalan’, which refers to various plants, the arura fruit is oval with length-wise ridges.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy and pigments, private collection, photo by Hollywood Galleries.

Bhaisajyaguru is normally depicted in a set of eight medicine buddhas, or 51 deities.

16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru attendant? (labelled Amitayus), bronze, private collection, photo by Casa Cambi d’Aste. (The photo is the wrong way round, i.e. left to right)

This curious and tiny figure (7 cm tall), probably made to go in a portable shrine, is seated at royal ease and has a bodhisattva appearance, yet there is an arura fruit in (what should be) his right hand and a bowl in the other.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and pigments, private collection, photo by Lempertz. 

Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (6)

Circa 11th century, Tibet, Guge, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

This Pala-style figure depicts the most popular of the eight medicine buddhas, seated with his legs locked, his right hand palm out to hold an arura fruit (missing here), the left hand in the meditation gesture and supporting an object, normally a medicine bowl (which has often lost its lid or perhaps never had one). The hem of his robe is decorated with a small triangular pattern imitating sun rays.

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

The Nepalese style includes rich gilding, a lower pedestal and during the 13th-14th century buddhas may have rosettes above their ears. The use of copper alloy rather than copper and blue instead of black pigment in the hair points to a Nepalese artist in Tibet.

18th c., Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, c.a.traces cold gold, 28,5 cm, lab. lotus+kalasha (arura+bowl), Paris Sotheby's

18th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy with traces of cold gold, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This late work illustrates changes in the way buddha’s garments are worn.

Described as a lotus and a skull cup, his attributes are in fact a long-stemmed arura fruit in his left hand (whose palm is engraved with a lotus within a diamond shape, matching the lotuses on the hem of his robe) and a bowl in his left hand.

Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (5)

14th-15th c., Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt c.a., 26,5 cm, holds stem of myrobalan, Australia Sotheby's

14th-15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The medicine buddha holds the stem of an arura fruit (Terminalia Chebula) in his right hand. His left hand, in the meditation gesture, would have held a bowl.

15th-16th c., Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, c.a., 11,7 cm, Nagel

15th-16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel auctions.

This one holds a small fruit and a medicine jar with a lid.

15th-16th-c-tibet-bhaisajyaguru-c-a-117-cm-urna-2-tier-hair-nagel

His hair is made of very large beading set wide apart. There is a particularly large raised urna on his forehead.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This curious buddha with noticeable eyebrows, holds a smooth egg-shaped fruit and a small medicine jar with a lid, the hem of his sanghati and inner robe are decorated with beading and piping.

same as before, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Another type of draping, broad hems decorated with an incised pattern, a turquoise-inlaid urna and elongated earlobes.

18th c., Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, c.a.traces cold gold, 28,5 cm, lab. lotus+kalasha (arura+bowl), Paris Sotheby's

18th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy with traces of cold gold, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (4)

14th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, at the Berkeley Art Museum.

14th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, at the Berkeley Art Museum (USA).

With no bowl or arura fruit in his hands, the iconography is similar to that of Ratnasambhava, but the latter is almost always depicted in a bodhisattva form, and some of the fingers are raised as if to hold an object so we assume we are looking at the medicine buddha.

14th-15th c, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt c.a., 12,5 cm, Sotheby's

14th-15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This is clearly him, holding his attributes, his sanghati draped so as to cover both shoulders while leaving an arm free.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, at the Berkeley Art Museum (USA).

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, at the Berkeley Art Museum (USA).

The above has turquoise-inlaid rosettes and urna, and there is also a turquoise cabochon at the tip of his garment, over his left shoulder.

Undated (18th century circa?), Tibet, copper alloy, at the Stockholm Museum of World Cultures (Sweden).

Undated (18th century circa?), Tibet, copper alloy, at the Världskultur Museerna in Stockholm (Sweden).

On this Pala-revival version, Bhaisajyaguru holds the stem of a plant (presumably an arura) in his right hand and a medicine bowl in the other.

18th-c-or-later-tibet-bhaisajyaguru-c-a-back-concentric-curls-stockholm

His hair is arranged in concentric rows of thick curls topped with a chignon and a lotus bud finial.

Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (3)

14th-15th c., Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt c.a., 22 cm, bowl+arura nut, Paris Sotheby's

14th-15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Medicine bowl and arura fruit in hand, his chignon topped with a lotus bud finial, Bhaisajyaguru seems to tell us he has a remedy for every ailment.

16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel auctions.

16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel auctions.

This is a similar style, with thick beading on the hem of his sanghati.

Same as before, photo by Sotheby's.

16th century, same as before, photo by Sotheby’s.

Here, the robe is draped in the Chinese fashion and has a broad hem decorated with incisions and beading. His medicine pot comes complete with a lid.

18th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper and pigments, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper and pigments, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

A sturdy figure with big limbs, thick hair curls, a large urna and finial, his garments wrapping his body tightly, the hem decorated with an incised pattern, reminiscent of earlier Khasa Malla works.

Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (2)

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

15th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Bhaisajyaguru holds a medicine jar in his left hand and a small arura fruit in the other.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Arura (often called ‘myrobalan’, which is a generic term referring to various plants) is used in Tibetan medicine for its healing properties. The above figure holds a particularly large fruit. On most sculptures the fruit looks like a large seed in the palm of his hand.

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

16th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

16th-c-tibet-bhaisahyaguru-gilt-c-a-32-cm-face-paris-christies

He normally has a raised urna on his forehead (which is meant to be a lock of hair, not a third eye).

Undated (18th century?), probably Tibeto-Chinese, Bhaisajyaguru, at the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Undated (18th century?), probably Tibeto-Chinese, Bhaisajyaguru, at the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg (Russia).