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.

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Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (11)

 

MAY LONG-LIFE DEITY AMITAYUS BRING YOU PEACE AND HARMONY!

 

11th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt bronze, at the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This Nepalese-style work depicts Amitayus, who normally has a bodhisattva appearance and holds a long-life vase. He is an aspect of Amitabha, whose mount is the peacock, hence the two peacocks supporting the throne, which is covered with a cloth decorated with a wheel of dharma at the front.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Amitabha (Amitayus), bronze, at the Kyangphu monastery, Shigatse, Tibet photo from the Huntington Archive.

Here, the throne is supported by a seated figure between two peacocks.

Unlike the yakshas that often support thrones, this figure is tall and thin, and his body is decorated with floral roundels on the knees, forearms, elbows and chest.

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

Amitayus is always seated in the vajra position, with both hands in the meditation gesture.

17th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with stone inlay, at the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This buddha’s crown, jewellery and long-life vase are inlaid with large cabochons typical of works inspired by late Malla art from Nepal.

18th century, Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The late Pala-revival style often includes a thin fluttering scarf.

Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (11)

11th century, Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy, private collection, Bonhams.

Amitayus is an aspect of Amitabha usually depicted with a bodhisattva appearance.

13th century, Tibet, gilt metal with stone inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

His distinctive attribute is a long-life vase held in both hands.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Amitayus, (labelled Amitabha), at Kangmar, Shigatse (Tibet), photo from the Huntington Archive.

This richly adorned figure sits on a throne supported by a yaksha and two peacocks (Amitabha’s mount).

18th century, Tibet, Amitayus, (parcel) gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Arman Antiques.

The only buddha with a bodhisattva appearance who holds both hands in the meditation gesture is Amitayus. The parcel gilding and the celestial scarf flowing straight upward like the ribbons of the crown correspond to the Tibeto-Chinese style.

18th century, Tibet, Amitayus, parcel gilt metal and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

For the sake of comparison, this Sino-Tibetan style work (made by a Chinese artist for a Tibetan patron) portrays Amitayus with a double chignon topped with a jewel, and an ample lower garment gathered loosely over his legs and most of the pedestal, both of which are also gilt.

18th century, Tibet, Amitayus, copper repoussé, silver and gold inlay, detachable ornaments, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (10)

18th century, Tibet, Amitabha (Amitayus), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Ethnologica, published on http://www.asianart.com

His vase of longevity is missing but the position of the hands together with a bodhisattva appearance identifies him as Amitayus. He wears a low five-leaf crown, beaded jewellery, a lower garment worn loosely and decorated with an incised border. We saw a top knot on a Chinese-style Amitayus recently, this one has a double top knot.

18th century, Tibet, Amitabha (Amitayus), gilt copper and stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A curiously disproportionate figure, with large shoulders that recall Mongolian works and an elongated torso that was fashionable in Tibet around the 17th century, adorned with a large necklace shaped like a breastplate.

Again, his hair arrangement includes a top knot, complemented by a flaming jewel finial.

Labelled 14th century, Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The body shape and proportions of this figure, the shape of the fluttering scarf and the design of the jewellery are normally associated with the 18th century. The deity is seated on an embroidered cushion with Kirtimukha at the front, on a throne supported by two lions and ritual vases, decorated with a couple of figures at the front: one half kneeling and half crouching and brandishing a sword (possibly a form of Achala?) and the other seated.

Same as before, copper alloy, at the National Gallery in Prague (Czech Republic).

Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (9)

16th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This Chinese-style figure with a loosely draped garment and shawl is seated on a lotus base with curly petals inspired by the Yongle period.

Amitayus’s hair is unusually tied  and topped with a flaming jewel. His crown is made of foliate panels with a kirtimukha design at the front – we can see the hands of the mythical creature holding the vegetation coming out of its mouth. There is a lock of hair (urna) on the buddha’s forehead.

Same as before, photo by Sotheby’s.

This Amitayus  has an effigy of Amitabha (buddha appearance, holding a bowl) on top of his chignon.

16th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, photo by Bonhams.

The lower garment here is decorated with double beading and an engraved floral pattern.

18th century, same as before, photo by Lempertz.

A more recent statue, with preserved (or replaced) coral and turquoise inlay for the foliate crown and matching accessories.

Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (8)

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Amitabha (Amitayus), copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This remarkable and exceptionally harmonious sculpture  of the dhyani buddha includes silver-inlaid eyes, copper-inlaid lips, thumb nails and accessories, stone-inlaid jewellery (most cabochons now missing). His tall Pala-style crown is decorated with rosettes and flowing ribbons and secured with rods. The intricate scrolling vegetation on each side of him is a rare feature, although we have seen one 14th century Tibetan Amitayus with almost the same design. We will notice the double-lotus base with two rows of small beading at the top and a single row of large beading at the bottom, and slightly elongated plump petals with a round edge often seen on sculptures dated circa 13th century.

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

Amitayus occasionally has a half vajra finial on his chignon.

The above is adorned with beaded jewellery inlaid with small stones, and wears a transparent dhoti  whose double hem is decorated with beading and an incised rice grain pattern.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt bronze, private collection, published on carters.com.au

This work also depicts him with a vajra finial. A view of the inside shows how the hollow part is filled with scrolls and possibly other ritual objects. This topic will be discussed in the near future.

15th century, Tibet (labelled Nepal), Amitayus, bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On paintings, Amitabha and Amitayus (two aspects of the same deity) have a different-colour skin. With sculptures, and although we have seen exceptions, the generally accepted norm is that Amitabha has a buddha appearance and holds a bowl while Amitayus has a bodhisattva appearance  and holds a vase of longevity in his hands.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Gallery Hioco.

Whatever the appearance, the long-life vase belongs to Amitayus.

Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (8)

14th century, Western Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel auctions.

14th century, Western Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy with traces of gilding and lacquer, private collection, photo by Nagel auctions.

A classic from Western Tibet, with soft facial features, downcast eyes and a slight smile, harmonious body proportions and excellent craftsmanship.

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

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

Seated on an Indian-style lotus base, this Amitayus wears a serrated shawl over his shoulders and a celestial scarf placed like an arch around him. His face is painted with cold gold, his hair dyed with blue pigment, the chignon topped with a lotus and flaming jewel.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

17th-18th century, Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This is a curious mixture of styles. The throne, facial features and necklace recall Chinese works, the long dhoti with silver and copper-inlaid dots imitates Indian works from the Pala period, the design of the crown and the use of an arch with mythical creatures and a garuda at the top are typical of Nepal (Malla period).

17th-18th century, Tibet, Amitayus (labelled Amitabha), copper alloy, photo by 'Between the lotus and the flame'.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Amitayus (labelled Amitabha), copper alloy, photo by ‘Between the lotus and the flame’.

A recent post was devoted to this type of 17th century circa Tibetan (and some Tibeto-Chinese) sculptures seated on a cushion, wearing a sash, and a large hair ornament instead of a crown – a revival of a much earlier Nepalese style.