Tibet, Vajradhara – alone (10)

14th-15th century, Tibet or Nepal, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy, gilt copper, stone inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Vajradhara, his hands doing the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture, is identified by the attributes (vajra sceptre and bell) on the lotuses fastened to his elbows.

14th-15th century, Western Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

More often he holds the attributes in his hands crossed over his heart.

The above wears a long lower garment delicately engraved with a floral motif and a shawl over his shoulders.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Here, the ornate silk garment is held in place with a belt with raining jewel pendants that rest over his legs.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze, private collection, photo by Marchance auctioneers.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Galerie Hioco.

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Tibet, Vajradhara with lotuses (3)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper, blue pigment and glass inlay, at the Liverpool Museum (UK).

Vajradhara (an emanation of the supreme buddha,Samantabhadra)  has his hands crossed over his heart and holds the stem of lotuses topped with his attributes, a vajra sceptre and vajra-handled bell (ghanta).

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

The vajra sceptre can be placed horizontally or vertically, as above.

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

Vajradhara, who represents the quintessence of buddhahood, always has a bodhisattva appearance.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, (Vajradhara), silver alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

He is often confused with Vajrasattva (his equivalent according to some schools, his delegate according to others)  but the latter never has his hands crossed over his chest.

 

 

Tibet, Vajradhara alone (9)

14th-15th century (previously dated 14th century by a different gallery), Tibet, Vajrasattva (Vajradhara), gilt copper alloy with stone and coral inlay, photo by Mandarin Auction Co Ltd.

This superb work depicts Vajradhara without his consort, his hands crossed over his heart and holding his attributes, vajra and ghanta, his chignon topped with a vajra finial.

He is adorned with delicate jewellery inlaid with tiny pieces of turquoise and coral (a sign that the sculpture was made for a Tibetan patron), including ear adornments typical of the Nepalese Malla period. Another detail pointing to a Newar artist are the rings on his fingers.

His lower garment is richly incised with a floral motif and medallions.

15th century, Western Tibet, Guge style, Vajradhara, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

This honey-coloured (high copper content) sculpture combines elements characteristic of the former Tibetan Guge  kingdom (facial features and crown, cruciform navel) with others typical of a large group of sculptures made according to Chinese fashion (shawl over the shoulders, lower garment gathered loosely and covering most of the lotus base) and a distinct Tibetan preference for non gilt metal.

 

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (USA).

 

Tibet, Vajradhara with consort (2)

15th century, Nepal or Tibet, Vajradhara and Prajnaparamita, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th century, Tibet or Nepal, Vajradhara and Prajnaparamita, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Made by a Nepalese artist, in Tibet or Nepal, this masterpiece depicts Vajradhara in embrace with his consort, Prajnaparamita. He holds the vajra sceptre and the bell across her back.

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He wears a sort of helmet topped with a half vajra.

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara+consort, private collection, published on Himalaya Art Resources.

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara+consort, private collection, published on Himalaya Art Resources.

Prajnaparamita wears the same accessories as him, plus a kind of beaded belt with long pendants, the above decorated with stone cabochons.

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She holds the same attributes.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara and consort, copper alloy with copper inlay, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara and consort, copper alloy with copper inlay, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

Central Tibet, Vajradhara (2)

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

This Vajradhara is almost identical to three similar sculptures published in a previous post, one with a different necklace, one with stone inlay and a third with a different urna and very slightly different face, all attributed to Central Tibet and dated 15th to 16th century.

15th-c-tibet-vajradhara-c-a-sil-eyes-kirtimukha-rubin-moa

Made of non-gilt copper alloy, all four wear a crown with Kirtimukha on the front panel with more or less noticeable hands holding the vegetation that comes out of his mouth. They have a squarish face with silver-inlaid eyes and a small mouth, and wear a shawl that covers the shoulders and part of the back, forms a loop at elbow level and is stretched rigidly over their legs. Their loose dhoti covers part of the base.

15th century, Central Tibet, (labelled Western Tibet), Vajradhara, copper alloy with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th century, Central Tibet, (labelled Western Tibet), Vajradhara, copper alloy with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The above has copper-inlaid lips, silver-inlaid eyes and stone-inlaid accessories (some cabochons are missing).

15th-c-western-central-tibet-vajradhara-c-a-sil-eyesc-lips-hem-stones-273-cm-detail-sothebys

His lower garment is decorated with an incised and stippled floral motif. The loops of his shawl are shaped like flames.

 

Tibet, Vajradhara alone (8)

Same as before, photo by Nagel auctions.

17th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel auctions.

Seated and holding his attributes in the usual way, Vajradhara wears a loose-fitting dhoti that covers part of the lotus base on which he is seated, the extremities of his shawl flowing upwards in a serpentine shape after forming an angular loop at elbow level –  a feature typical of the 17th century onwards. The halo behind his head is borrowed from Nepalese art.

Same as before, stone inly, at Musée Guimet in Paris (France).

Same as before, stone inly, at Musée Guimet in Paris (France).

This Vajradhara wears a dhoti decorated with an incised floral and foliate motif, held in place with a beaded belt similar in style to his jewellery. He has a moonlike face with a large raised urna, and a large raised navelHis chignon is topped with a flaming jewel.

18th century, Tibet, labelled Vajrasattva, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

18th century, Tibet, labelled Vajrasattva, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The deity has an Indian-style conical chignon (jatamukata) topped with a floral finial, he is adorned with a low crown with floral panels, side bows and flowing ribbons and wears a long striped dhoti gathered tightly around his legs, the extremity folded under his ankles. The incised waist of the garment and the punched navel are also typical of earlier Indian works. The ‘Pala-revival’ style refers to a series of sculptures with similar characteristics produced around the 15th and then, on a larger scale, during the 18th century. Earlier ones normally have silver-inlaid eyes, they sit on a taller lotus base with heart-shaped petals, their hands tend to be oversized, like the example below.

15th century, labelled India, Vajradhara, brass, private collection, published by armandantiques.com.

 17th century, labelled Nepal, (but probably Tibet), Vajradhara, brass, private collection, photo by Arman Antiques.

Tibet, Vajradhara with lotuses (2)

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

His beautiful face painted with pigments and his hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder, Vajradhara holds the stem of flowers against which  a tiny thunderbolt sceptre (to his right) and a tiny bell (to his left) are propped. His crown and other accessories are inlaid with medium-size stones (and possibly coral). The hem on his shawl and  loose dhoti is incised with a floral motif.

Same as before, gilt copper, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Same as before, gilt copper, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This one has a half-vajra finial on his chignon. The lotus flowers that support his attributes are fastened to his elbows.

16th-17th century, Tibet or Nepal, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and coral inlay, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (USA).

16th-17th century, Tibet or Nepal, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and coral inlay, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (USA).

On this picture of a similar sculpture, we can see that even the tail end of his dhoti is inlaid with small stones.

17th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Vajradhara may hold the stem of lotuses while retaining the vajra and ghanta in his hands. The above wears a bulky necklace and matching armbands and bracelets, and a heavy belt.