A rare sculpture of a standing crowned buddha, almost identical to a 12th century sculpture from Western Tibet, published by Christie’s and seen in a previous post. He stands on a Kashmiri-style stepped pedestal decorated with a singular row of lotus petals and an incised motif at the front. Other features that differ from Kashmiri standards are the large wide-open eyes, the shape of the rosettes on each side of the crown and the hem, with large beading and jewel pendants instead of tassels, on the three-pointed neckline of his garment.
The historical buddha dressed in a transparent robe that reveals the waist of his undergarment, his lips and the border of his robe inlaid with copper, his eyes and urna inlaid with silver, seated on a tall lotus base with plump petals, all of which we have often seen on early (13th-14th century) works from Tibet. We have only seen a few early buddhas seated on a beaded cushion as above, most of them dated 13th century.
15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo on Nagel .
One of a group of buddhas seated on a double-lotus base with elongated petals with a sharply pointed end, displaying the same type of facial features and hairstyle, the undergarment tightly pleated under the breast, the sanghati decorated with an incised border, a small vajra sceptre placed on top of the seat.
15th century, Western Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).
This rare image depicts the historical buddha with a jewelled finial (and no hair bun or chignon), wearing a diaphanous robe with part of the cloth falling vertically on the left side.
A plain robe with an incised hem and a section of the cloth arranged in two scallop-shaped layers over his left shoulder.
A copper-inlaid hem and a classic ‘swallow tail’ draping over the left shoulder.
A sanghati with a multitude of soft pleats across the chest and left arm.
The classic patched robe with beaded seams.
With a very loosely draped robe, disproportionate arms and torso, an elongated neck and face, all of which help date the piece.
Dressed in silk clothing draped in the Chinese fashion.
The historical buddha wearing a five-leaf crown tied with long ribbons and decorated with large rosettes, no earrings or necklace, dressed in a sanghati with an incised hem, his right hand calling Earth to witness, the other cupped in the gesture of meditation.
A similar depiction, with a small vajra sceptre before him half embedded in the lotus base.
On quite a few of these broad-shouldered Nepalese-style sculptures produced during the 14th and 15th century approximatley, the buddha has a tear-shaped urna on his forehead and wears a minimal tiara, consisting in a head band, plain or with a chased pattern, side rosettes and a central decoration or several stone cabochons.
The historical buddha, crowned and holding a begging bowl in both hands.
This Indo-Tibetan masterpiece depicts the historical buddha with a very large lotus bud finial on his chignon, his right hand calling Earth to witness his enlightenment. There is no cloth folded over his left shoulder but we can see that a piece of the garment rests across his left arm, a common feature in Tibet.
Two buddhas with a large raised urna above their unibrow and a sanghati with a copper-inlaid hem decorated with an incised geometrical pattern, a recurrent feature in 13th and 14th century Tibet, usually featuring a rice grain or a lotus motif.
A simpler way of decorating the hem, without the copper inlay. Note the ‘swallow tail’ over the left shoulder, the delicate hands and the oblong urna at the centre of the unibrow. We can see a raised wheel of dharma on the sole of his right foot.
Two noteworthy features here are the way the cloth drops almost vertically across the left arm and the short and broad ‘swallow tail’ arranged over the shoulder and down the arm.
A sanghati with a wavy pattern on the hem.
Shakyamuni wearing a patched robe with beaded seams, a floral pattern engraved on each patch, the border decorated with a geometrical motif, seated on a rare lotus base with an incised two-tier plinth.
With two layers of clothing clearly visible and thick pleating over his left shoulder.
The use of silver inlay for the eyes came to Tibet via Kashmiri and Indian artists, who didn’t normally apply gilding to their works.
In parts of Tibet (such as the Ngari area in Western Tibet), plain copper alloy was often decorated with a stippled and/or incised motif, such as the lotus flowers on this buddha’s sanghati and the geometrical pattern on the hem.
14th century, Tibet, metal (brass with copper inlay and pigments), private collection, photo on HAR
On many 13th and 14th century Tibetan brass sculptures the garments (of buddhas, bodhisattvas and lamas) have a copper-inlaid and incised border. This buddha’s robe has a floral motif. A different decoration has been used for the folds over his shoulders (see close up here). There are traces of cold gold on his face and neck. His nails are also inlaid with copper.
15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt metal with painted face and hair, Sonam Gyaltsen and atelier, private collection, photo on HAR
Richly gilt and stone-inlaid works such as those found at the Densatil monastery and others attributed to Sonam Gyaltsen (whose atelier was in the Tsang province) and his followers is due to the influence of Newari artists from the Kathmandu Valley. But before that, the Newars already used (cold) gold to adorn wooden statues. One example is the famous sandalwood statue of Avalokiteshvara known as ‘Phagpa Lokeshvara’ at the Potala’ (see article by Ian Alsop) which may date from the 7th century.
An unusual image of the historical buddha seated on a Pala-style lotus base with incised (rather than modelled) beading, the hem of his sanghati decorated with a triangular pattern, his smiling face painted with cold gold, a lotus bud finial on his chignon.
Quite a different image with a serene face, thick hair curls, a lobed abdomen and large nipple, seated on a base with no apparent lotus petals, the hem of his clothes roughly incised.
With painted facial features, the eyes rendered in the Indian Pala style, the hem of his sanghati incised with a semi-circular motif, the edge of his undergarments showing next to it.
The way the fingers of the left hand are held suggests that this buddha held a begging bowl.
With a lotus print on the border of his copper-inlaid robe, his hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder, the hands and nails modelled in a naturalistic manner.
With a vajra sceptre before him on the lotus base to symbolise his moment of enlightenment, his face painted with cold gold.
With square shoulders and an elongated torso, wearing a patched robe with beaded seams, a chubby face with large slanted eyes.
With part of the sanghati dropping vertically at the front instead of resting over the left arm.
With a long row of pleats over the left shoulder and the lower part of his garments gathered in a scallop shape under his ankles.
Wearing a robe with a broad hem incised with a solar motif, seated on a tall waisted lotus base with large rounded petals.
We saw another two similar works, dated 11th-12th century (see below for comparison). The buddha is seated on a lotus in a stupa niche, flanked by two birds and some decorative panels, in this case, with a semi-circular motif.
There are not many sculptures of the historical buddha seated on a single lotus, especially with the petals going downwards as would be the case on early works.The hem of his sanghati is decorated with a chased geometrical motif and the thin strip of fabric over his shoulder has a stippled pattern and an incised border. Such features on a brass sculpture are often seen on early works attributed to Western Tibet.
Another brass buddha with a stippled and engraved motif on the hem of his robe.
Shakyamuni is at the centre of the second row from the top, with Shariputra and Maugdalalyana standing on each side and two lamas above him.
The foot of the tree is protected by Yellow Jambhala and the four Guardian Kings.
This tree is supported by a lion throne with a visvajra at the front. Shakyamuni is much larger and surrounded by an arch.