Tibet, Vairochana – four faces (5)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vairochana, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

Sarvavid Maha Vairochana (or Vairocana) has four heads and two hands, in which he may hold an upright vajra sceptre, as above.

Undated (circa 15th century?), Tibet, Vairochana, gilt metal with turquoise and lapis lazuli, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Otherwise he holds a wheel (cakra).

17th century, Tibet, Vairochana, Sarvavid form, gilt bronze with turquoise and paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

15th century (or later for the figure itself?), Tibet, Vairocana (labelled ‘bodhisattva’), gilt bronze with turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A rare example with one main head and three smaller ones at the back, holding an upright vajra while doing the gesture of supreme enlightenment.

Undated (circa 18th century), Tibet, gilt bronze, Vairochana, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

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Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (12)

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and glass, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Whether he has a buddha or a bodhisattva appearance, Amitayus always holds a long-life vase in both hands.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy with silver inlay and glass, private collection, photo by Koller.When the vase is missing, the bodhisattva appearance together with the position of the hands are enough to identify him.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy with stone and coral inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.A short celestial scarf forming a frame around the subject was a popular feature in parts of Tibet around the 15th century.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

18th century, Tibet or Mongolia, Amitayus, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Tibet, Vajradhara alone – (13)

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This buddha has a three-tier chignon topped with a half-vajra finial. He wears a silk shawl with a lotus motif and an embroidered hem, even the back of his necklace and belt are inlaid with turquoise. The rim of the lotus base is decorated with a chased floral patter except at the back, where an inscription in Tibetan can be seen.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The personal touch of the artist is expressed here through the loops of the celestial scarf shaped like sprouting lotuses.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, brass with turquoise and paint, private collection, photo by Bonham’s.

On this Chinese-style sculpture with voluminous drapin, red paint has been used for the ribbon and side bows of the crown.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, brass, private collection, photo by Navin Kumar.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Castor Hara.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze (copper alloy with traces of gilding), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.Note the long strands of individually shaped curls that come half way down the forearm of this dynamic figure.

18th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke.

Tibet, Vajradhara – alone (12)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Thought to have been made by a Newari artist in Tibet, this rare Licchavi-style image shows Vajradhara with his eyes closed, adorned with large floral earrings and matching tripartite crown, a thin sash drawn tightly across his chest, holding a vajra sceptre and a bell.

14th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper with silver and gems, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

He always hashis hands crossed over his heart, palm inwards, although the attributes may be supported by lotuses next to him.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy with turquoise, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The vajra sceptre may be placed vertically or horizontally.

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with turquoise, coral, lapiz lazuli, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

He often has a half-vajra finial on his head. The above has a richly incised dhoti worn in the Nepalese fashion, i.e. short enough  to show his shin adornments and his anklets.

15th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This image was erroneously published in a post on Vajrasattva and has since been deleted from it. It is clearly Vajradhara.

15th-16th century, Central Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze (or plain brass?) with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste.

During the 15th and 16th century, workshops in Central Tibet produced many brass sculptures with silver and copper or stone inlay and finely incised Chinese-style silk garments.

 

Tibet, Vajrasattva (13)

Circa 12th century, Tibet or Northeast India, Vajrasattva, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this Pala-style work, Vajrasattva is seated with a leg pendant and holds the vajra sceptre horizontally, pointing to his heart. The left hand holds the stem of a blue lotus (utpala) and he has a lotus in his headdress.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt brass with gems, private collection, photo by Hanhai auction.

Most sculptures depict him with the bell turned towards his left hip as on this Densatil-style example.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

When he is seated with both legs locked, the vajra sceptre held at heart level may be the only feature that distinguishes him from seated Vajrapani.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy with pigments, private collection, photo by Navin Kumar.

This one has a small vajra sceptre before him, on the lotus seat.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Here is one holding the vajra diagonally, his chignon topped with a triple gem finial.

17th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and stones, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

A variant, with the forefinger of the right hand fully stretched, a large lotus and half-vajra finial on his head.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Kapoor Galleries.

A striking detail on this Pala revival statue is the position of the legs, which are not locked.

 

Tibet, Shakyamuni with rosettes

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

There is a group of Nepalese-style sculptures (made in Tibet by Newars) that depict the historical buddha with a broad forehead and a squarish lower jaw, adorned with a headband tied with long ribbons and decorated with rosettes placed above his ears.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

Usually gilt, they have broad shoulders and big arms. The figure is normally seated and the robe is decorated with an incised hem.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Occasionally, the headband is more like a diadem, with a bigger rosette at the front.

17th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass, at the British Museum (London).

This is a later brass version, with different body shape and proportions.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – unusual works (5)

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (brass), pigments, private collection, photo by Astamagala.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Cornette de Saint-Cyr.

Two small sculptures of the historical buddha (10,5 cm and 8,8 cm respectively) with no urna on the forehead.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This one has unique facial features including a large triangular urna, thick raised eyebrows, long earlobes decorated with beading on the edge.

Late 15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel.

It is most unusual for the left nipple to show through the transparent sanghati of the historical buddha. We will note also the shape of the extremity of the garment placed over his left shoulder, unlike any other we have seen so far.