Tibet, Karmapas (6)

14th century, Tibet, karmapa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

This endearing figure is coiffed with the lotus hat worn by Karma Kagyu hierarchs, traditionally black and decorated with a visvajra (or a lozenge representing a visvajra) on the front panel, and clouds at the side. The border of his monastic garments is incised with a wavy pattern.

16th century, Tibet, karmapa, copper with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Tessier Sarrou.

To confuse the issue, this character wears a red lotus hat associated with other hierarchs (such as shamarpas and situpas) and traditionally decorated with jewels at the front, but his displays a visvajra.

17th-18th century, Tibet, labelled ‘possibly the first karmapa’, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Castor Hara.

The first five karmapas are thought to have worn a small black cap before the black lotus hat became their headdress (see the Himalayan Art Resources page on Hats of the Himalayas). This personage wears an ornate foliate crown with rosettes and ribbons, a half-vajra finial on top of his head, beaded jewellery and a ritual apron over his ample silk garments. He holds a vajra and ghanta crossed over his heart. The sculpture probably depicts him performing a ritual ceremony.

 

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Tibet, King Songtsen Gampo (3)

16th century, Tibet, Songtsen Gampo, gilt copper alloy, at the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai (India), published on http://www.mountainsoftravelphotos.com

King Songtsen Gampo is seated at royal ease, his right hand doing the fear-allaying gesture, the other resting over his knee. He wears a truncated conical hat topped with the head of Amitabha.

Undated, King Songtsen Gampo in his meditation cave at Yerpa, Tibet, photo on Wikipedia.

The thirty-third king of Tibet lived during the 7th century and introduced Buddhism to Tibet well before Padmasambhava was invited there by his grandson.

King Songtsen Gampo, Tibet, Trandruk Temple Monastery, Yarlung Valley, photo by Robert Fried on Alamy Stock.

He came from the Yarlung dynasty, based in Central Tibet.

King Songtsen Gampo, Tibet, Yumbulagang, Yarlung Valley, photo by Erik Törner on IMs photo archive.In an effort to strengthen the bond between the various Tibetan people and unifying the small kingdoms of Tibet, he wished for a written version of the Tibetan language to be invented. Thus the Tibetan alphabet and grammar were born.

Undated, Tibet, king Songtsen Gampo and his two wives, at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published on http://www.rinpoche.com.

He had two wives, one from Nepal and another from China.

18th-19th century, Tibet, king Songtsen Gampo, papier maché and leather ties, from the Bruce Miller collection on loan at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Tibet, various dalai lamas (2)

16th-17th century, Tibet, possibly the 2nd dalai lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

He holds a book in his left hand and does the teaching gesture with the other. The lotuses on each side support a vajra sceptre and a vajra-handled bell (ghanta). His voluminous silk garments are decorated with an incised border.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Gendun Gyatso (2nd dalai lama), gilt metal, at the Tibet House museum in Lhasa (Tibet).

16th-17th century, Tibet, Gendun Gyatso, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonham’s.

17th century, Tibet, Gendun Gyatso, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, 3rd dalai lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

The third dalai lama is depicted with a pointed hat and plain monastic garments. There is a vajra sceptre in his right hand and a ghanta in the other.

Late 17th century, Tibet, 5th dalai lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This vivid portrait of the fifth dalai lama shows him holding a dharma wheel  in the palm of his left hand.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, 5th dalai lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.Here, the face is painted with cold gold and pigments and the hair dyed black. The prong in his left hand is all that remains from the object he once held (a book according to Sotheby’s). The seams of his patched robe are incised with a floral pattern and his cloak is decorated with dragons, the latter indicating that the piece was made for a Chinese patron.

Tibet, Tsongkhapa (4)

Circa 1423, Tibet, Ganden Chokor Monastery, Tsongkhapa, gilt copper alloy, in The Mystical Arts of Tibet, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The founder of the Gelugpa order may be depicted under various forms. The main one is that of a monk seated in the vajra position, wearing a pandita hat, his hands turning the wheel of dharma.

15th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

He holds the stem of two lotuses, one supporting the hilt of a sword and the other a manuscript.

The above flaming sword is made of silver or iron and the manuscript is made of lapis lazuli.

His heavy patched robe is decorated with an engraved floral pattern, stippled, engraved and beaded hems.

15th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Bonhams.

On early sculptures one of the lotuses may of the blue variety (utpala), which never fully opens.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt copper repoussé and cast parts, at the Freer Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC (USA).

When he is not wearing the pointed cap of the Gelugpa order, his hair is often dyed black. The above has cold gold and pigments on his face. He holds the stem of fully open lotuses fastened at shoulder level.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

In many cases the lotuses have leaves or tendrils that spring from his elbows

18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The manuscript to his left may be topped with a flaming pearl.

 

 

Tibet, Milarepa (10)

14th century, Tibet, Milarepa, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Many images of Milarepa show him seated at ease, his right hand raised to his ear, the left hand supporting a skull cup. The above holds a long-life vase. He wears the usual loosely wrapped garment, spiral earrings, bracelets and yogic band. We saw a similar image from the Navin Kumar collection on the Himalayan Art Resources website (see link in left margin), reproduced below for comparison, with a added views.

14th century, Tibet, bronze, private collection.

Previously labelled 14th century, it is now labelled 16th century (1500-1599) and attributed to a Tsang province atelier in Central Tibet. Note the floral motif on the strap, sculpted rather than engraved, and the five strands of hair with a rounded edge at the back.

Undated (circa 16th century), Tibet, Milarepa, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Milarepa may be seated on an antelope skin placed over the lotus base.

16th century, Tibet, Milarepa, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

The position of his right hand varies, sometimes the palm is placed away from his ear.

 

 

Tibet, Tsongkhapa (3)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

An endearing portrait of the 14th century Tibetan lama Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa order, without the pandita hat, his face painted with cold gold and pigments.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

As is customary in Tibet, the lama’s right arm is bare.

The blue lotuses on each side of him support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript topped with a pearl.

16th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt copper, Nyingjei Lam collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

His hands do the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture.

Late 18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

He holds the stem of lotuses fastened to his elbows and shoulders.

18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Koller.

When depicted as a lama on a lotus base, his legs are always locked in the vajra position.

18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and cold gold, private collection.

Traditionally he wears a peaked cap with long flaps over the ears known as pandita hat.

Tsongkhapa, Tibet, 18th century, gilt copper, at the national gallery in Prague (Czech Republic).

He is normally portrayed with bare feet.

16th century or later (probably later), Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tsong Khapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, same as before.

18th century, Tibet, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection.

Tibet, Padmsambhava (14)

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

A standard image of Guru Rinpoche/Padmasambhava, seated with his legs locked, holding a vajra sceptre against his heart and a skull cup.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, private collection, Bonhams.

This figure seems to have been damaged by fire, but Bonhams tell us that his face was blackened by ritual smoke.

A very large rice-grain pattern decorates the border of his robe.

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy repoussé with cold gold on face and hands, private collection, photo by Koller.

This Padmasambhava has a half vajra finial on his hat (a vulture feather possibly missing from it) and a vajra sceptre placed before him (judging by its size it may not be the one he originally held in his right hand). His lotus hat is adorned with turquoise inlay and Chinese-style serpentine ribbons. The earrings are missing.

18th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, gilt copper alloy with traces of cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

We saw in the previous post that on later sculptures he often wears a necklace over his outer garment. Note the lotus base with several layers of petals of various shapes and sizes.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Apart from a short necklace, later Tibetan sculptures of Padmasambhava  frequently include stone inlay on his hat and jewellery, cold gold  and pigments on his face, colour on his hair.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, gilt copper alloy and pigments, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

On this richly gilt work, the artist has even added small turquoise cabochons to the lotus base.

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

This  more modest work includes a two-piece flaming mandorla and a semi-circular open plinth. His hat is more like a foliate crown but the feather on top and his attributes identify him without doubt.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, stone, at the Newark Museum (USA).

Contrasting with the dark stone, Padmasambhava wears a red hat with a crescent moon and sun disc symbol on the front panel. There are traces of cold gold on his clothes and on the lotus base.