Tibet, various lamas (12)

15th century, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass) with silver eyes, private collection, photo on Hardt 

This smiling character with a long-life vase in his left hand is seated on two brocaded cushions with unusually large chased motifs (clouds and flowers), covered with a thick blanket. His lower garment is held in place with a very ornate cummerbund.

Undated (circa 14th century?), Tibet, lama, bronze (brass with silver-inlaid eyes), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

An early sculpture of a lama seated on a cushion atop a stepped throne decorated with beading and stippled motifs. He wears coarse garments with a stippled lotus print and geometrical incisions, his right foot showing from under the meditation cloak.

Undated, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass with silver and copper inlay), private collection, photo on HAR 

Two blankets on two plainer cushions for this elderly master. The artist has given him a life-like appearance and used silver for the eyes, copper for the lips and the hat. His silk garments are decorated with chased floral and cloud motifs.

16th-17th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A realistic portrait of an elderly teacher in full monastic garb richly incised with a floral pattern, his left hand over the knee, the right hand doing the gesture of debate/teaching. From the late 16th century onwards it is not uncommon for the outer robe to be gathered on the left side of the body, revealing the undergarment tied under the breast. Other date indicators are the way the meditation cloak is arranged like the petals of a flower covering the top of the lotus base, and the large upward-going petals of the said base.

15th c. Tibet, lama (labelled ‘monk’), bronze with turquoise (and coral) inlay, private collection, photo on Cambiaste

The mahasiddha appearance coupled with the Tibetan monastic garb and the long-life vase in his left hand suggests this personage was a teacher (lama).

15th-16th century, Tibet, lama in cave, stone, private collection, photo on Hardt 

Seated in a yogic pose, his long hair gathered in a topknot, this tantric master only wears his meditation cloak around his legs and a piece of cloth around his arms.

 

17th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 103 China 2.

This younger man with elongated limbs and torso is dressed in Chinese silks that cover the cushion under him.

Undated, Eastern Tibet, guru, bronze, private collection?, photo on gg-art  

An elderly lama with an oversized head, holding a rosary between his delicately cast hands.

The chased floral pattern all over his cloak recalls a particular group of 15th-16th century brass works made in the Tsang province of Southern Central Tibet but the patched robe with a rice grain border and the petals on the lotus base are of a different style. The inscription at the front looks like a late addition.

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Tibet, famous lamas (18)

First half of the 16th century, Tibet, Seton Kunrig, gilt copper repoussé with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the Mindrolling monastery, photo on HAR 

Part of the lamdre masters collection at the said monastery, this vivid portrait depicts the teacher in layman’s attire (both arms covered), some strands of long black hair falling over his shoulders, his hands held as if to support an implement.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Seton Kunrig, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams, Portraits of the Masters 

An elderly Seton Kunrig, dressed in Chinese silk garments embroidered all over with a floral pattern, his right hand doing an unusual gesture, possibly a variant of the karana mudra (to ward off evil), the other expressing meditation.

First half of the 16th century, Tibet, Phagpa Lodro Gyaltsen, gilt copper repoussé, is or was at the Mindroling monastery, photo on HAR 

Phapga Lodro Gyaltsen depicted like the historical buddha, calling Earth to witness while holding a begging bowl in his left hand.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Sanggye Pel, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.Also known as Buddhashri, Sanggye Pel is seen here seated at ease and holding a manuscript in his left hand.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Palden Sultrim, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Seated in the vajra position, this 14th century teacher does the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture with his hands.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Naza Dragpupa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Naza Dragpupa Sonam Pel (1277-1346 approx.) has both hands in the meditation gesture as if to hold a bowl or a vase.

15th century, Tibet, Sengge Gyaltsen, metal (brass?), at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA) photo on HAR.

A rare sculpture of a teacher with a patched robe incised throughout with a floral motif, and a lama engraved at the top of his vest (see close up ), seated on a lotus base with plump curly inner petals and a plinth engraved with lantsa script.

16th century, Tibet, Sonam Gyaltsen, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources 

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Kunga Peljor, gilt bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo on Van Ham 

15th century, Tibet, Wuze Rinchen, gilt bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Andrew Lau for Hollywood Galleries 

Tibet, lamas with attributes (4)

Circa 14th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

A Kagyu master, seated on a lotus supported by a lion throne decorated with stone-inlaid visvajra symbols and scrolling vegetation, holding a flaming jewel in his left hand (see close up on HAR ).

15th century, Tibet, lama, bronze, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

This teacher seated on a lotus base engraved with a floral and geometrical pattern holds an object, possibly a gem, between both hands. He is not wearing a vest but has some felt boots and a supple outer garment with a floral print.

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, brass with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s. 

This lama who holds a vajra sceptre and vajra bell may have been a translator as he wears his pointed hat like a flat cap. His vest has a copper-inlaid border decorated with a chased pattern. The way his lower garment is gathered under the breast and held in place with a girdle was fashionable around the 16th century.

labelled ‘lama’, (circa 16th century?, Tibet, brass, private collection), photo on Himalayan Art Resources

A rare sculpture of a lama holding a pill in his right hand. He is seated on a single lotus atop a simplified openwork base.

Undated (15th or 16th century), Tibet, lama, bronze, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, item 71838 on HAR.

When lamas hold a manuscript in their left hand they often do the gesture expressing debate/teaching with the other.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, lama, bronze, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, item 71817 on HAR.

We saw a man with a similar hat here , this one holds a rosary in his left hand.

Tibet, lamas and their hands (2)

15th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 16th June 2017.

A lama in patched monastic garb depicted like the historical buddha, his right hand calling Earth to Witness, his left hand cupped in the meditation gesture, a vajra sceptre placed before him on the lotus base.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, lama, bronze with cold gold and pigments, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, item 71811 on Himalayan Art Resources.

Coiffed with a fan-shaped Kagyu hat, this Tibetan teacher holds his right hand palm out in a gesture of generosity while the other rests over his left knee.

Unlabelled (circa 16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, lama, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection?, published in Grandes Lamas del Tibet, photo on HAR

In this common combination of hand gestures, i.e. debate/ teaching with the right hand, meditation with the other, the left hand often holds a manuscript (missing here).

Unlabelled (15th or 16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, lama, copper alloy with silver-inlaid eyes), published in Grandes Lamas del Tibet, item 101630 on HAR.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper repoussé (with paint), private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

The ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture represents the teachings of the historical buddha.

18th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, phot by Auction Art on Drouot

Dressed in a layman’s garb, this teacher does, with his left hand, a gesture to ward off evil often seen on wrathful deities holding a lasso. The right hand does the same gesture upside-down.

18th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 104 China 2.

The fear-allaying gesture is common to many ancient cultures but in buddhist art the fingers are held less rigidly.

Tibet, lamas and their garments (5)

Undated (13th-14th century?), Tibet, lama, metal (brass with copper inlay, cold gold, pigments), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

An early and realistic portrait of a teacher wearing the full monastic garb including a vest (with copper beading on the hem in this case),  lower garment, outer robe (see close up of the copper-inlaid border with a lotus and geometrical pattern here ) and meditation cloak. On this sculpture the nail of the left thumb is inlaid with copper.

Undated, Tibet, lama, (gilt) bronze, private collection, item 70312 on HAR

This lama with a vajra sceptre in front of him is wearing patched clothes with beaded seams. The physiognomy (and iconography) is very similar to that of another two sculptures seen previously here and here .

Undated, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

14th century, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid hem), private collection, photo by Capitolium Art here

A feature common to many 13th and 14th century Tibetan brass works is the round and wide opening of the vest, often revealing a piece of the cloth crossed over the chest from the other side.

15th-16th c., Tibet, lama, gilt bronze, 12,5 cm, lab. guru, ravenel.com

15th-16th century, Tibet, guru, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Ravenel.

Occasionally, the meditation cloak is worn off the shoulders and wraps the lower back, legs and feet. The above has a manuscript in his left hand and does the gesture of debate associated with it.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, lama, wood, private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts

16th century, Tibet, lama, repoussé silver with cold gold, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

On late works the waist of the lower garment is often visible. On this example it is held in place with a cummerbund.

Tibet, a few lamdre teachers

We have seen a few early 16th century gilt copper repoussé sculptures of famous Tibetan teachers and  mahasiddhas from the Mindrolling monastery, the following are part of the same group (and as yet unidentified); photos by Verena Ziegler, 2009, on WHAV

Early 16th century, Tibet, Mindrolling, lamdre teacher, gilt copper repoussé with cold gold and pigments, Verena Ziegler as mentioned above.

Two elderly lamas with the standard monastic garments.

A younger man seated with the right leg unfolded, his right foot bare.

This one is seated in the royal ease position and wearing felt boots. He does the gesture of debate with is right hand and may have held a manuscript in the other.

Two lamas with their legs fully wrapped in their cloak.

This one has his legs locked and his feet bare.

This younger teacher must have been a layman as he wears a gown covering both arms and fastened with a belt.

 

Tibet, deified lamas (8)

16th century?, Tibet, lama, metal (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s on HAR.

This Tibetan teacher holds the stem of lotuses that support a vajra sceptre and a bell. He has silver-inlaid eyes and a wears a copper-inlaid vest.

Unlabelled (15th or 16th century, Tibet, lama, brass with silver-inlaid eyes, cold gold, pigments), Tsang province atelier, private collection, photo by Hanhai Auction, item 83172 on HAR.

Undated (15th or 16th century?), Tibet, lama, brass with silver and copper inlay, published in Grandes Lamas del Tibet, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Deified lamas are often flanked by lotuses topped with Manjushri’s attributes, i.e. the hilt of a sword and a manuscript.

15th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with paint and turquoise, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This personage is seated on a brocaded cushion decorated with turquoise-inlaid visvajras.

Undated, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s on HAR.

An elderly man seated at ease on a lotus base with a chased floral motif at the bottom, flanked by turquoise-inlaid lotuses that support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript topped with a flaming jewel. His eyes are inlaid with silver, his lips with copper.

16th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper alloy with stone (and coral?) inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Here Manjushri’s attributes are barely visible among the jewelled foliage.

Unlabelled (15th or 16th century, Tibet, lama, gilt metal, private collection), photo on HAR  .

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, lama, metal (copper alloy with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid hem), private collection, item 30982 on Himalayan Art Resources.

Apart from silver-inlaid eyes and a copper-inlaid hem, the above appears to have a gold-inlaid patched robe.

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

16th-17th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On occasions a few miniature characters are added to a portrait. In this case the teacher is accompanied by two seated figures placed on the lotus stems he holds.

There is also a character at the front of the seat who holds a jewel-spitting mongoose under his left arm and a banner in his right hand, like Vaishravana. He appears to be dressed in kingly attire and is surrounded by an arch.