Probably made by an Indian artist in Tibet, this Vajrasattva wears a long dhoti decorated with an incised pattern and held in place with a heavy belt with large roundels. His crown and jewellery are inlaid with large turquoise cabochons (some missing).
On this singular example derived from the Pala style, the lower row of petals on the base is raised and there is no beading on the upper or lower rim, the backplate has an unusual shape, the treatment of the eyes is different, the lower garment is shorter and the jewellery is less elaborate.
14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources
Nepalese-style buddhas and bodhisattvas from the Malla period nearly always wear stone-inlaid ‘shin ornaments’ as well as anklets. As a result, their lower garment only reaches below the knee and the border is usually embroidered, often with a rice grain motif. This one has a double border including a floral and geometrical pattern over the hem and a row of scrolling vines above it.
Vajrasattva is one of the few buddhas who may be seated with his legs unlocked. We see him here in a relaxed posture, on a lotus base with an incised motif on the lower rim.
On this striking Tibetan sculpture with moon-like facial features, the buddha is framed by a jewelled celestial scarf forming a three-lobed nimbus around his head and loops at elbow level the ends carefully arranged on the lotus base, next to his knees. A profusion of small size turquoise and coral cabochons has been used to decorate his accessories.