Tibet, Vajrayogini – variants (4)

13th century, Tibet, bronze, Vajrayogini, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Facing the viewer, Vajrayogini, with a dakini appearance, holds a flaying knife at head level and a skull cup before her heart. She stands with one foot on the pedestal and the other crushing the head of a prostrate victim. She is adorned with bone jewellery, a skull crown and a garland of severed heads.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

16th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddhadakini, bronze , private collection, published on on http://www.bumpercollection.org

In her Naro dakini/ Sarvabuddhadakini (etc.) aspect she is portrayed sideways and usually stands on two victims. She raises the skull cup to her mouth to drink the blood from it, while the flaying knife is held down, close to her right leg.

17th century, Tibet, possibly Vajravarahi, bronze, private collection, photo from the Werner Forman Archive.

Assuming that the shape that protrudes from her left temple is the head of a sow, we are looking at Vajravarahi, one of Vajrayogini’s forms (see the previous post).

18th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini Dechen Gyalmo, gilt copper alloy and stones, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

Few sculptures show this form of Vajrayogini holding up a drum with her right hand and clutching a flaying knife in the other, against her hip. The above is adorned with a garland of flowers as well as the usual accessories.

 

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Tibet, Vajravarahi (11)

Circa 14th century, Central Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy with pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This form of Vajrayogini – identified by the sow’s head sticking from her right temple – is usually depicted with a dakini appearance, in a dancing pose, with a skull cup in her left hand and a flaying knife (sometimes a sword) in the other. Instead of the habitual garland of severed heads, this magnificent example wears a garland of skulls.

She is adorned with a five-skull crown and princely jewellery inlaid with coral, turquoise and lapis lazuli (and possibly a few glass replacements).

Even her cross-belt and bone apron are inlaid with hard stones and coral.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt silver, copper alloy repoussé shrine, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

A well-preserved portable shrine made to measure to keep a small statue (14 cm) of Vajravarahi, who holds the skull cup at knee level.

She wears unusual jewellery, including large hoops with a tendril at the bottom, a short festooned necklace, a long beaded one, large floral bracelets and matching armbands and anklets inlaid with clear gems (or glass).

Her festooned belt is inlaid with clear gems (or glass) and hard stones.

The shrine includes a double-lotus base and two doors decorated with skulls and scrolling vegetation.

15th century., Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Hollywood Galleries.

When the pedestal is intact, the deity often tramples a prostrate victim, particular large in this case.

18th century (or earlier?), Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze, private collection, photo by Altair Auctions.

Reminiscent of early West Tibetan sculptures, this unusual work depicts her with a tiger skin loin cloth (the head of the animal showing at the front) and snake ornaments, neither of which are part of the dakini appearance – unlike the ritual staff propped against her left shoulder.

 

 

Tibet, Naro Khechara (6)

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

This form of Vajrayogini is always portrayed as a young woman, naked, looking sideways towards the skull cup filled with menstrual blood which she raises to her lips, holding a flaying knife in her right hand lowered down. She may be adorned with a skull crown and a bone apron and she treads on one or two victims.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddhadakini, bronze, private collection, published on http://www.bumpercollection.org.

She has long hair, combed back.

Mid 17th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddhadakini, gilt copper repoussé with cast hands, feet and head, private collection, published on http://www.bumpercollection.org

The head is tilted to drink the blood from the cup.

18th century circa, same as before.

The right hand is held palm outwards.

18th century circa, same as before.

In Tibet she is known under various names linked to Naropa (Naro Dakini, Naro Khechara, etc.)

Undated (18th century?), Tibet, Naro Khechara, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

She often wears a garland of fifty freshly severed heads. The above wears skulls instead, and Chinese-style jewellery and accessories including a cross-belt.

Tibet, Vajravarahi (10)

14th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy with stone (and coral) inlay, private collection, photo by Bnohams.

Almost identical to a 14th century Tibetan sculpture published previously, Vajravarahi is identified through the sow’s head sticking out of her right temple. On this occasion, her earrings are inlaid with coral cabochons and her shorter necklace is studded with turquoise.

Same as before, photo by Christie’s.

The deity’s celestial scarf often forms a frame around her. She wears a five-skull crown, a garland of fifty freshly severed heads and bone ornaments, and holds a flaying knife, a skull cup, and a ritual staff in the crook of her left arm.

15th century, Central Tibet, Vajravarahi, copper alloy and pigments, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

This dark bronze shows her with cold gold on the face and red pigment on the hair, her raised knee resting against a lotus stemming from the base on which there is no victim. Her belt is incised with a geometrical motif, the contours of the festoons and pendants are engraved rather than sculpted. The same technique has been applied to the seams of her lower garment.

Same, stone, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A stone version, complete with flaming arch and lotus base, her left foot treading on Kalaratri, which represents the ego.

16th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Werner Forman, formerly Philip Goldman collection, published on Werner Forman Archive.

On this work, the artist has used silver inlay for the rim of her crown, her hair ornament, belt, bracelets and anklets, and probably for her eyes and teeth.

17th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze (gilt copper alloy), same as before.

 

Tibet, Naro Khechara (5)

17th-18th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddha dakini, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published by Lemper

17th-18th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddha dakini, copper alloy, private collection, published by Lempertz.

A Chinese-style image of the Naro Khechara form of Vajrayogini, raising a skull cup filled with menstrual blood to her mouth, the flaying knife missing from her left hand, adorned with skull crown, bone ornaments, garland of severed heads, cross belt with dangling heads and a matching belt. There are traces of gilding on her face and crown.

Undated, Tibet, same as before, at the Beijing Museum (China).

Undated (16th-17th century?), Tibet, gilt metal, at the Beijing Museum (China).

A similar work, complete with Yongle-style single lotus pedestal.

Undated, Tibet, Sarvabuddha dakini, copper alloy, at the Musée Guimet in Paris (France).

Undated (19th century?), Tibet, Sarvabuddha dakini, copper alloy, at the Musée Guimet in Paris (France).

Her attributes are missing but her youth, nakedness, loose hair and the way she stands sideways with a hand raised to her mouth indicate that this is Naro Khechara.

Tibet, Vajrayogini – variants (3)

15th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, gilt copper with turquoise inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

15th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper with turquoise inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

She holds a flaying knife and skull cup, and is adorned with a skull crown, garland of severed heads and bone jewellery and apron. She stands on a victim who raises a knee. Presumably, the adornment in her headdress is the head of a sow, which identifies her as the Vajravarahi form of Vajrayogini.

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

15th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, copper alloy, Navin Kumar collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources. On another page of the same website, labelled 1600-1699, Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

In the absence of a sow’s head or snout in her headdress or on the right side of the face, we are looking at another form of Vajrayogini. A celestial scarf frames her head and swirls around her arms, a sash floats over her hips, some vegetation  (probably lotuses) springs from the base. Her hair is fastened into a chignon topped with a finial.

18th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, painted wood and lacquer, published by the Liebermann gallery.

18th century, Tibet, labelled Vajravarahi, painted wood and lacquer, published by the Liebermann gallery.

On this more recent work Vajrayogini, surrounded with flames, steps on two victims (Kalaratri and Bhairava) and wears a Chinese-style cross belt.

18th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini, silver with parcel gilt copper alloy, at the Art Insitute of Chicago (USA).

18th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini (formerly labelled ‘dakini’), silver with parcel gilt copper alloy, at the Art Insitute of Chicago (USA).

She holds a rosary (not normally associated with her) in her right hand and raises a skull cup to her mouth, her head topped with a half-vajra. The ritual staff normally propped against her left shoulder is fastened to the back of her other shoulder. She wears a garland of skulls -instead of severed heads -,  a festooned breast ornament and an adaptation of the traditional bone apron, plain armbands, bracelets and anklets. There are no victims under her feet, both touching the base.

Tibet, Vajravarahi (9)

18th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

18th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

On occasions, this form of Vajrayogini has the head of a wild boar instead of having the snout or part of the head sticking out of her own. The above is a rare four-armed form of the deity, holding a skull cup and a ritual staff in her left hands, a vajra sceptre and an elephant goad (vajra hook) in her right hands.

18th-c-tibet-vajravarahi-gilt-c-1380-cm-close-up-from-gtsug-lakhang

Her face has been painted with cold cold and pigments. She is adorned with Indian-style jewellery and festooned belt, a skull crown and a garland of severed heads.

18th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

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

This Chinese-style variant depicts her holding a skull cup and a flaying knife in her main hands, a drum in her top right hand. The top left hand displays the karana mudra, a gesture to ward off evil, and may have held an object, now missing. She wears a tiger skin dhoti and a celestial scarf with snake-like ends.