Tibet, Sitatapatra (2)

12th century, Tibet, Sitatapatra, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Tibetan sculptures of the  ‘White Parasol’ are few and usually late ones, those that depict her seated are extremely rare. The above is a three-head and eight-hand version. Her main hands are doing the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture, the other left hands hold a closed victory banner, a bow, and what looks like a water pot. The lower right hand holds a wheel (cakra), the others probably held a vajra sceptre and an arrow.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Sitatapatra, bronze, Van Ham auctions on http://www.lotissimo.com

This Pala revival image depicts Sitatapatra with one head and two hands, the left one folded to support a missing parasol. She may have had a wheel in the other.

Undated (18th century circa?), Tibet, Sitatapatra, metal (copper alloy with cold gold and pigments), at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (UK).

The spectacular 1000 heads, 1000 arms and 1ooo legs version includes a parasol (broken here) in one of her main hands.

18th century, Tibet, Sitatapatra, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold (and pigments), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This one has lost all her side hands but still has a mirror in her main right hand (the other held the missing parasol).

 

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Tibet, various female deities

16th century, Tibet, unidentified, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, published on http://www.castor-hara.com.

This female character in a dancing pose, possibly a retinue figure, has one head and four arms. In her upper hands she holds a skull cup and what looks like a lamp, in the lower hands she has a drum and also held an attribute (now missing) upright.

14th century circa, Tibet, 4-armed goddess, gilt copper alloy with gems, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

A one-head and four-arm deity, seated at royal ease, her lower hands doing the gestures of supreme generosity and teaching, the other hands holding a blue lotus and another attribute, possibly the stalk of another lotus. Her lower garment is decorated with stone-inlaid visvajras in the Densatil style. A flat celestial scarf acts as a nimbus.

In a very similar style, this deity has three heads and six hands, in which she holds a bow, an arrow, a parasol, a vajra sceptre, and another two objects now missing.

Tibet, Nairatmya (3)

Undated (14th century?), Tibet, Nairatmya, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This female buddha and meditational deity may be depicted with a dakini appearance, standing on her left foot over a victim, wielding a flaying knife above her head and holding a skull cup at heart level, a ritual staff in the crook of her left arm, as above. This particular sculpture is identical in style to a 14th century sculpture of Hevajra published in a previous post, including the design of the double lotus base, derived from the Indian Pala style, and the way the flaming hair forms a mitre-like shape (it could well be that the two sculptures came out of the same workshop, especially as Nairatmya is Hevajra’s consort). She has no half-vajra finial on her head but holds a vajra sceptre in her right hand instead. Her two necklaces, bone apron, teeth and skull crown are made of silver.

The star-like incisions on her lower garment tell us that it is made of leopard skin ( a flame-like design would indicate a tiger skin loin cloth). Her garland has a row of freshly severed heads at the centre and only a few other heads along the string.

16th-17th century, Tbet, Nairatmya, gilt copper alloy with gems, private collection, photo by Nagel

This later version marries the Nepalese Malla style famous for its rich gilding and abundant stone inlay with the Chinese taste for festooned accessories and serpentine scarves and ribbons. Her ritual staff includes a horizontal vajra sceptre, two human heads and one skull, topped with an upright vajra sceptre. The harmonious body proportions are enhanced by the way her knees are held in a diagonal axis.

Undated, Tibet, Nairatmya, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Nairatmya may also be depicted seated at ease over a victim. Exceptions apart, she has three eyes, wears a five-skull crown with foliate panels on each skull, and holds her flaying knife and skull cup at heart level.

Undated, Tibet, Nairatmya, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A variant, with the skull cup held lower down.

Undated, Tibet ,Nairatmya, gilt metal with cold gold and pigments, same as before.

This one wears a tiger or leopard skin loin cloth held in place with a belt. She sits on a single lotus with large round petals and has a stone (and coral?) inlaid skull-crown with a much larger panel at the centre.

 

Tibet, Simhamukha (2)

Simhamukha is a generic term applying to various lion-headed deities, usually female. Simhamukha may be a buddha emanation and tantric deity, a wisdom dakini, a Bardo deity. For more information see the Himalayan Art Resources website and http://vajranatha.com/teaching/Simhamukha.htm

16th century circa, Tibet, Simhamukha, bodong tradition, copper alloy and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This is a rare form of a lion-headed deity seated on Ganapati, wearing a garland of severed heads, a five-skull crown, some jewellery, and holding a long-life vase in both hands. Christie’s tell us that there is an elephant hide on her back.

Undated (16th century circa?), Tibet, Simhamukha, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This Simhamukha has cold gold and pigments on her face to highlight her three eyes, furling tongue and bared fangs; her flaming hair is dyed orange. She wears a garland of large human heads around her neck, a bone cross-belt across her chest, and holds a flaying knife in her right hand at head level, and skull cup filled with blood against her heart.

16th-17 century, Tibet, possibly Simhamukha (labelled ‘retinue figure on Himalayan Art Resources), polychrome black stone, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The above holds both her flaying knife and skull cup at heart level and has a ritual staff tucked against her left arm. She has human ears and wears a garland of 50 skulls, a festooned and foliate five-skull crown, bone jewellery, a bone apron and a celestial scarf with serpentine ends. Both feet trample on Ganapati. There is no flaming hair visible but a flaming arch around her.

16th-17th centuru, Tibet, Simhamukha, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This simhamukha also stands on both feet over a (very flattened) victim. She sports large curls of flaming hair.

18th century, Tibet, Simhavaktra, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum in London (UK).

Simhavaktra is an attendant to Palden Lhamo. As such, she is part of a set including the latter and always smaller than her. She has a  dakini appearance, standing in a dancing posture, her left foot trampling a victim (missing here), her flaming hair erect, wearing a garland of freshly severed heads and a tiger skin loincloth, wielding a flaying knife and holding a skull cup filled with blood at heart level. The artist has given her large lion ears and abundant lion hair over the forehead. The iconography is identical to that of Simhamukha the wisdom dakini.

18th century, Tibet, Simhamukha, (copper alloy), at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

A particularly fierce example, standing on a victim within a triangle over a lotus base with a single row of petals going downwards.

18th century, Tibet, Simhamukha, nyingma yidam, zitan wood, private collection, photo by Dragon’s Pearl.

A variant with both feet on the (missing) base and a human hide across her back, no garland of severed heads or skull crown.

 

 

Tibet, Pratisara

14th century, Tibet, Pratisara, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

14th century, Tibet, Pratisara, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Rarely seen in sculpture, Maha Pratisara is one of five female deities known as Pancha Raksha, related to early buddhist texts (sutras). She may have one head and two hands or 4 heads and 8 hands, as above. She is seated in the vajra position, adorned with a crown and princely jewellery inlaid with gems, like her striped lower garment. Her celestial scarf forms a frame around her. In her right hands she holds a wheel, an arrow, a manuscript/book, in her left hands she has a bow and a vajra sceptre – the other two attributes (probably an axe and a sling) are lost.

 

Tibet, wrathful females

13th century, Tibet, wrathful female, bronze, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

13th century, Tibet, wrathful female, bronze, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

She stands with her right leg slightly bent, holding a skull cup in her left hand and probably a (missing) flaying knife in the other, wearing a long dhoti and adorned with a skull crown and snakes (worn as bracelets, armbands, anklets, necklace and belt).

15th-16th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy and pigments, private collection.

Labelled 15th-16th century (more likely 17th century onwards), Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy and pigments, private collection.

This extremely wrathful character stands with her left foot on a coiled snake, her hands in the gesture of prayer, a celestial scarf slung over her right arm, adorned with bone bracelets and anklets, large earrings and a necklace. Her flaming hair and her mouth are painted with red pigment, there are only two skulls on her tiara.

15th-16th-c-tibet-wrathful-female-gilt-bronzepigments-back

She wears a tiger skin dhoti knotted at the front.

17th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This semi-naked female holds a kila (three-sided peg) with a vajra handle in her left hand and possibly a flaying knife in the other. She wears a human hide over her back and is adorned with bone jewellery, floral earrings and a tiara with a single skull. Her long braid of hair is piled into a chignon that falls to one side.

Tibet, Marichi

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy and turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy and turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This Pala-style sculpture represents the deity in her three-head and eight-arm form standing on a lotus over a stepped pedestal with legs decorated with wild boars and a small deity, surrounded by a halo of flames topped with a stupa with a buddha on its base and a turquoise-inlaid finial. She has two angry faces and a boar face, there is a four-armed deity with a boar face standing behind her.

Undated (18th century onwards), Tibet, Marichi, gilt copper alloy, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

Undated (18th century onwards), Tibet, Marichi, gilt copper alloy, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

Tibetan sculptures of the goddess of dawn are few and usually recent (18th century onwards). The above is seated and has three heads (a human one and two boar ones) and six hands, in which she holds various implements including a needle and thread in the main ones. Her hair is gathered in a three-tier chignon topped with a finial.

Same as before.

Same as before.

This is a Chinese-style version of the kalpoktam form,  with eight hands and  two human heads and a boar head, seated in the vajra position. The top hands probably held two mirrors, the next ones down would have held a bow and an arrow or a kila, and the lower ones hold a bell and a rectangular object, possibly a manuscript, while the main hands are in the praying gesture.

Same as before.

Same as before.

A similar image with the bell and the manuscript in the reverse position and the main hands slightly apart. The heads wear a five-leaf crown and the hair is gathered in a tall chignon topped with a finial. On all of these, the draping of the dhoti corresponds to the Chinese style.