Tibet, Hvashang (2)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Hvashang, brass, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Seated on a stepped plinth, his shoulders wrapped in a shawl, Hvashang, of Chinese origin and regarded as the patron to the sixteen ahrats, holds a persimmon fruit in his right hand. The smaller figures around him are supposed to be children.

18th-19th century, Tibet (labelled China on Himalayan Art Resources), Hvashang, parcel-gilt bronze with pigments and coral, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

One of his usual attributes is a crystal rosary (made of coral in this instance).

He is always depicted as a happy person and for this reason is often confused with Budai, ‘the laughing buddha’ or ‘happy buddha’, a Chinese form of Maitreya who also has a large belly.

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Tibet, Dharmata and arhats

18th century, Tibet, Dharmata, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This unusual portrait of Dharmata/Dharmatala, attendant to the 16 arhats, shows him seated on a rock in a relaxed manner, wearing thick garments and boots, a shawl knotted at the front, his top knot hidden behind a large floral tiara with an effigy of Amitabha. Instead of holding the usual attributes (long-life vase and fly whisk) his hands make symbolic gestures to signify knowledge and ward off evil.

His clothes are incised with a floral pattern throughout. Instead of being fastened to his back with the shawl, his books are worn over the left shoulder, carefully wrapped in fine silk.

Undated, Tibet, gilt metal and pigments, photo by Holly Auctions, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This is a traditional image of him, the fly whisk in his right hand, the vase in the other, the books strapped to his back, a small tiger by his side.

18th century, Tibet, Vajriputra, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

One of the sixteen arhats, Vajriputra holds a fly whisk (right hand) and does a pointing gesture (warding off evil). The above wears a thick robe fastened with a belt,  no boots. A cloak or shawl is folded over his left arm.

17th-18th century, Tibet, possibly Nagasena, (labelled Maudgalyayana), gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

Maudgalyayana, is often standing and he holds a bowl in his left hand while his right hand does a pointing gesture or rests against his hip. Nagasena also holds a bowl but his other attribute is an iron staff with rings (khakkhara). The above is topped with a stupa.

 

 

 

 

Tibet, Pantaka

17th century, Tibet, Pantaka, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A traditional protrait of this arhat, with a book in one hand and the other doing the gesture of debate or teaching (vitarka mudra).

Undated, arhat, Tibet, gilt copper, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Same iconography, although the head is a different shape.

18th century, Tibet, Pantaka, zitan wood and cold gold, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Here, he holds the book in the left hand and does the mudra with the other.

He wears a meditation cloak decorated with a gold floral motif.

 

Tibet, unidentified arhats (2)

15th century, Tibet, arhat, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The only arhat described as an elderly man with a goatee is Bhadra, who normally does the gesture of turning the wheel of dharma with both hands. The above holds a long-life vase and another object.

16th century, arhat, Tibet, gilt copper alloy and pigment, same as before.

Several arhats may hold a manuscript,  but the prayer wheel in the left hand doesn’t correspond to standard iconography.

Undated, arhat, bronze (copper alloy), at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This old and curious sculpture depicts an arhat holding a small elephant in his left hand. The tiny lion attached to the base points to Chudapantaka, who normally has both hands in the meditation gesture.

16th century circa, Tibet, arhat, copper alloy with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This remarkable work also departs from any standard arhat iconography. The right hand seems to have held a manuscript, a bowl or an incense burner.

 

Tibet, Gopaka, Kalika, Abheda (2)

14th century, Tibet, Abheda, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Astamangala.

Abheda is the arhat who holds a stupa in both hands.

18th century, Tibet, Gopaka, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Gopaka normally holds a manuscript with both hands, as above.

18th-19th century, arhat, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum in London (UK).

An inscription on the back of this sculpture tells us that it is devoted to Gopaka. The relatively recent date of the work may explain why it departs from the traditional iconography.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Kalika, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Kalika is the arhat who holds one or two gold loops. The above holds a large one with both hands.

18th century, Tibet, same as before.

This more recent one holds a smaller hoop with a beaded pendant in each hand.

Tibet, Ajita

 

18th century, Tibet, arhat Ajita, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

This arhat is easy to identify because his hands are both in the meditation gesture and his cloak covers his head, two features corresponding to Ajita.

Same as before, photo by Bonhams.

Most sculptures of arhats are relatively late and depict them with several layers of warm clothes, draped in the Chinese fashion.

Same as before, photo by Bonhams.

It is most unusual for him not to have his head covered, however, he is the only arhat whose hands are always held in the meditation gesture and therefore this is probably a portrait of Ajita.

Tibet, Dharmata (2)

15th century, Tibet, Dharmata, gilt copper, published on http://www.castor-hara.com

Dharmata or Dharmatala, attendant to the sixteen arhats, carries buddhist scriptures attached to his back. He is usually depicted seated on a cushion, his legs pendant, a fly whisk (missing here) in his right hand, a vessel (kundika in this case) in the other, his hair fastened in a top knot.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Dharmata, gilt copper alloy, at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena (USA).

The above is seated with his legs in a different position. The straps holding his manuscripts are human limbs.

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

A layman, Dharmata wears warm clothes including a gown fastened with a belt, and thick felt boots. This example holds a long-life vase.

Same as before, wood and cold gold, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

He may be accompanied by a tiger, who sits by his side, as can bee seen on this and the next two images.

18th century, Tibet, Dharmata, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

Like all attendants, the tiger is much smaller than the main figure.

Same as before, at the British Museum in London (UK).

This late work depicts him with Chinese facial features and goatee.