Tibet, Amoghasiddhi – bodhisattva appearance (5)

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy with cold gold, turquoise and coral inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Amoghasiddhi is the dhyani buddha whose right hand does the teaching gesture (tip of the forefinger pressed on the tip of the thumb) as above, or the fear-allaying gesture, as below.

15th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, bronze (copper alloy) with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

These Pala-inspired figures on a tall double-lotus base with plump apple-like petals correspond to a group of Tibetan brass sculptures thought to have been produced between the 13th and 15th century and often attributed to Western Tibet (rightly or wrongly).

Amoghasiddhi’s tall chignon is topped with a triple gem (triratna) finial. His scarf acts as a frame around him and is incised with a stippled lotus motif.

Undated (13th-14th c?), Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

We have seen at least two examples of Amoghasiddhi sculptures with a similar ‘gushing light’ design in the headdress, both dated 13th-14th century, signalling the sambhogakaya form of the deity.

Undated, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, wood, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

A wooden sculpture of Amoghasiddhi with a key-hole aperture on the mandorla, the latter decorated with scrolling vine in the manner of the Densatil style.

18th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

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Tibet, Amoghasiddhi – buddha appearance (2)

12th-13th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel auctions.

Amoghasiddhi, in his buddha appearance, is seated in the vajra position, his right hand held in the fear-allaying gesture, the other in meditation.

His particularly tall chignon is topped with a lotus bud finial, he has copper inlaid lips and hem, silver inlaid eyes.

18th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

18th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

In Tibet, his right hand often does the vitarka mudra (thumb and forefinger pressed together). The fear-allaying gesture (above) is more common in Nepal and India, where he may also have both hands in the meditation gesture. Same as before, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

Same as before, gilt copper alloy, same as before.Traditionally, he holds a visvajra in his left hand (usually missing from sculptures).

 

Tibet, a buddha set

11th century, Tibet, 5 buddhas, brass with cold gold and indigo, is or was at the Lima Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

11th century, Tibet, 5 buddhas, brass with cold gold and indigo, is or was at the Lima Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This is a Kashmir-style set of the five dhyani buddhas, from left to right: Ratnasambhava, Akshobhya, Vairocana, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi. Ratnasambhava is seated on a lotus supported by horses, he holds one end of his sanghati in his hands as Shakyamuni often does, Akshobhya does the same and he is seated on a lotus supported by elephants. Vairocana wears a crown with rosettes, large floral earrings, a sacred cord, possibly a garland, long strands of hair fall over his shoulders, he is seated on a lotus supported by lions. Amitabha wears a V-neck robe that covers both shoulders and is seated on a lotus supported by peacocks, Amoghasiddhi’s seat is supported by garudas. The faces are painted with cold gold and pigments, the hair is thought to be dyed with indigo.

Tibet, Amoghasiddhi – bodhisattva appearance (4)

15th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, published by Arnold Lieberman.

15th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, published by Arnold Lieberman.

Amoghasiddhi does the fear-allaying gesture with his right hand, the other held in the meditation gesture. He is seated on a tall double-lotus base with short plump petals, his celestial scarf forming a frame around his shoulders before passing over his inner arms, two features often seen on un-gilt Tibetan works dated to the 14th or 15th century. He wears a five-leaf crown with a broad rim inlaid with copper and a central panel derived from the ‘Kirtimukha design’ (see below).

16th century circa, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, brass with copper and stone or glass inlay, at the British Museum in London (UK).

16th century circa, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, brass with copper and stone or glass inlay, at the British Museum in London (UK).

On the contrary, this Amoghasiddhi wears a crown with vegetation going downwards. The beading on the rim of his crown, on the hem of his dhoti and on some of his jewellery is made of copper. The design of his shorter necklaces was probably very innovative at the time they were made.

17th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

17th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This more classical piece depicts him with a vajra on top of his head and many medium-size turquoise cabochons on his jewellery and crown.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper with cold gold and turquoise, at the Patan Museum (Nepal).

17th-18th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper with cold gold and turquoise, at the Patan Museum (Nepal).

The dhyani buddha wears a tall five-leaf crown with the panels widely set apart, the central one with a simplified Kirtimukha design (vegetation buds sprouting upwards), large hoops with a leaf pendant, a necklace with beaded pendants that cover most of the chest, no other jewellery or belt, but a sanghati which covers his left arm – an item of clothing not normally worn by dhyani buddhas (in the Himalayas).

Undated, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, brass with turquoise and lapis lazuli, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, brass with turquoise and lapis lazuli, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

An interesting mixture of Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan elements. There are two peacocks (normally associated with Amitabha) incised at the front of the pedestal.

Tibet, Amoghasiddhi – Densatil style

14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy and gems, Tibet House Museum in Beijing (China).

14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy and gems, Tibet House Museum in Beijing (China).

A richly gilt figure with Nepalese facial features, framed by a celestial scarf, a lotus fastened to each elbow to support a vajra sceptre (one placed horizontally, the other upright), his accessories and dhoti studded with clear gems and turquoise, some of them minute, the left hand held in the meditation gesture, the other raised in the fear-allaying gesture.

Same as before, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Same as before, gilt metal and stones, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

In Tibet, Amoghasiddhi usually holds a double vajra sceptre (visvajra) in his left hand while doing the vitarka mudra (as above) with the other. This one holds his left hand palm out in the gesture of supreme generosity.

Same as before.

Same as before.

This one does the fear-allaying gesture with the right hand and the gesture of generosity with the other. He is seated on a round throne decorated with scrolls of vegetation and flowers.

Tibet, Amoghasiddhi – bodhisattva appearance (3)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This remarkable Indian-style sculpture depicts Amoghasiddhi, recognizable through his hand gestures, seated on a single lotus with plump petals, dressed in princely attire, his tall chignon topped with a finial, and adorned with a (broken?) crown with rosettes on each side, incised with a geometrical pattern that matches the hem of his dhoti. Long strands of curls fall over his shoulders.

13th-14th-c-tibet-amoghasiddhi-gilt-c-a-incised-sangati-hem-105-cm-upper-part

He has silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid nails.

13th-14th-c-tibet-amoghasiddhi-gilt-c-a-incised-sanghati-hem-105-cm-lotuse-or-cakra-on-soles-close-up

a wheel of dharma (dharmacakra) is embossed on each of his palms and soles.

14th century, labelled Western Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

14th century, labelled Western Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, copper alloy and cold gold on the face, private collection, photo by Koller.

The serrated halo, the sash worn tightly across the chest, the hourglass waist and the lotus base with staggered rows of broad flat petals are reminiscent of the (much earlier) Nepalese Thakuri style. The tripartite pointed crown and the large floral earrings are typical of Western Tibet.

15th century, Tibet, Tsang district, Amoghasiddhi, brass, at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.

15th century, Tibet, Tsang district, Amoghasiddhi, brass, at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (USA).

 

Tibet, Amoghasiddhi – bodhisattva appearance (2)

13th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, bronze with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

13th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, bronze with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Amoghasiddhi normally holds his right hand in the fear-allaying gesture, as above, or in the vitarka mudra (see further down). The other hand is held in the meditation gesture.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and turquoise, private collection, photo by Koller.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and turquoise, private collection, photo by Koller.

The shape of the celestial scarf forming a frame around him is typical of the 13th and 14th century (Tibet).

13th-14th century, Tibet, copper alloy with turquoise and pigments, private collection, published on boranasianart,com

13th-14th century, Tibet, copper alloy with turquoise and pigments, private collection, published on boranasianart,com

The panels of his tall five-leaf crown are linked with rods to prevent breakage.

14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, bronze with cold gold and turquoise, private collection, photo by Christie's.

14th century, Tibet, Amoghasiddhi, bronze with cold gold and stones, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this example and the next, the right hand is held in the gesture of debate/teaching. The face is painted with cold gold and the jewellery and crown inlaid with a few large turquoise cabochons.

14th-15th century, same as before, photo by Bonhams.

14th-15th century, same as before, photo by Bonhams.

He normally holds a visvajra (double thunderbolt sceptre) in his cupped left hand but the attribute is often missing. On this richly gilt Nepalese-style work the turquoise cabochons are small and numerous.

15th century, Tibet, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

15th century, Tibet, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Lempertz.