Tibet, lamas and their hats (4)

13th-14th century, Tibet, lama (labelled ‘buddhist monk), brass with silver and copper inlay, photo on Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

A singular and remarkable sculpture of a Tibetan teacher dressed in a layman’s clothes (not all lamas are monks) and wearing a cap or a fur hat. The lotus seat is supported by a stepped throne covered with a cloth and decorated with a dharma wheel at the front.

14th century, Tibet, lama, stone with traces of cold gold and red pigment, photo here , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères.

This lama with a pandita hat and the full monastic garb sits on an unusual lotus seat and holds a rosary, twisted in a 8-shape, in both hands. The long lappets of his headgear fall over his shoulders.

17th century, Tibet, Sakya monk, gilt copper, photo on Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

The lappets are sometimes folded and crossed at the apex. This lama is seated on  two cushions, the lower one decorated with three upright vajra sceptres. He points a vajra sceptre towards his heart.

18th century, Tibet, lamas, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 14259, Paris.

The pandita hat is worn exclusively by monks and its height varies a lot from one sculpture to the other. The character on the left holds a manuscript in his left hand, the other has the stem of a lotus topped with a book and a flaming jewel in his right hand.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, brass with silver and copper inlay, photo on Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

The Kagyu hat is tall and semi-circular at the back, folded at the sides, and usually has a symbol on the front part. This teacher has silver-inlaid eyes, copper-inlaid lips, and both metals were used to decorate his hat. There is a vase of longevity in his left hand.

15th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, brass with silver and copper inlay, photo  here , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

A singular portrait of a tantric practitioner with a wide gaze, seated on an antelope skin, his right hand calling Earth to witness, the other in the gesture of meditation may have supported a book. We can see a yogic belt made of copper across his chest, a bracelet and an armlet on his right arm, a choker round his neck and earrings or earplugs in his ears.

18th century, Tibet, Drukpa Kagyu lama, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Andrew Lau for Hollywood Gallery on issuu .

See more on hats of the Himalayas on Himalayan Art Resources .

Tibet, lamas and their hands (3)

16th-17th century, Tibet, Nyingmapa Lama, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s.

This teacher has the piercing gaze, the sun-and-moon symbol at the front of his lotus hat, the goatee and the position of the hands associated with Padmasambhava. However, he wears monastic garments (that leave his right arm uncovered) and his headgear includes folded lappets and a half-vajra finial, not a vulture feather. The position of his left fingers suggests he may have held a skull cup or a bowl.

15th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with traces of gilding, private collection, published on HAR .

A rare sculpture of an elderly teacher dressed in full monastic garb including a meditation cloak, seated on cushion covered with an animal skin (lion according to the Himalayan Art Resources website) and a blanket, atop a stepped plinth decorated with two lions and an upright vajra sceptre. His right hand does the gesture of debate, the other may have held a book.

16th century, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

A lama with long hair at the back and thick curls at the front, seated on an antelope skin atop a lotus base decorated with a chased pattern, his legs not quite locked. His outer robe, made of silk embroidered with a floral design, is worn low down to display the elegant knot of his belt. The left hand does the gesture of supreme generosity.

16th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Millon .

This teacher, seated in the vajra position, does the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture.

14th-15th century (or 16th century?), Tibet?, guru, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Ethereal.

This elderly lama’s patched clothes have an unusual border with a large floral motif. The lower part of his lotus seat is also decorated with flowers. His right hand is in the ‘calling Earth to witness’ gesture, symbolising the moment when the historical buddha attained enlightenment.

17th-18th century, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass), at the Minneapolis Institute of Art  (USA).

Depicted in the manner of the 13th-14th century, this lama is seated on a thick cushion with rounded corners and wears his meditation cloak partly off his shoulders, securing it over his legs with his right hand.

Tibet, deified lamas (9)

14th-15th century, Tibet, lama, bronze with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 105 China 1.

An elderly man wearing a lotus hat, his left hand holding a manuscript and the stem of a lotus topped with a ritual water pot, his right hand doing the gesture of debate and holding the stem of a lotus supporting the hilt of a sword. The border of his outer garment is decorated with copper and silver flowers.

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

Seated with his legs not quite locked, his hands doing the ‘turning the wheel of the law’ gesture, this youthful Tibetan teacher holds the stem of lotuses that support the hilt of a sword to his right and a manuscript topped with a flaming jewel to his left. He wears a pointed hat with long lappets and monastic garb with an embroidered hem.

16th century, Tibet, lama (labelled ‘monk’), bronze, base restored, private collection, photo on artcurial .

This one wears a richly embroidered patched robe and does the turning the wheel of dharma gesture while holding the stem of (broken) lotuses.

18th century, Tibet, deified lama, (labelled ‘Tsongkhapa’), ivory and paint, private collection, photo on Drouot .

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.

Tibet, famous lamas (19)

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.