Tibet, Dampa Sangye (5)

12th century, Tibet, Dampa Sangye, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The Indian teacher is seated with his legs locked, atop a stepped throne decorated with a stippled pattern and a solar symbol at the front. His right hand does the gesture indicating debate, the other is upside-down and displays a pill between thumb and forefinger.

16th century, Tibet, Dampa Sangye, metal (copper alloy and stone-inlaid urna), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this image he holds a pill or pearl in both hands and his knees are gathered before him and wrapped in his meditation cloak. The cushion under him and the lower part of the lotus base are decorated with a chased pattern.

18th century, Tibet, Dampa Sangye, (painted) clay, private collection, item 90815 on HAR.

On this well-preserved tsa-tsa he holds a drum in his right hand and a thigh-bone trumpet in the other, expressing severance.

Tibet, Mahasiddha Damarupa (3)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mustang, Damarupa, papier mâché, is or was at the Namgyal monastery, photo by Christian Luczanits on soas

Damarupa holds a drum high up in his right hand and a skull cup in the other. His topknot is held in place with a red ribbon, matching the colour of his loin cloth. His sole ornaments are earplugs.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Tsang province, Damarupa, copper alloy, private collection, photo on HAR  

Here the Indian tantric adept is depicted with fleshy fingers and toes, thick curly facial hair and a severe expression. He is adorned with bone jewellery and a cross-belt with a floral design at the front.

Undated (15th or 16th century?), Tibet, Damarupa, brass with pigments, published in Grandes Lamas del Tibet, photo on HAR

The floral jewellery and garland worn by some mahasiddhas is an anti-caste symbol. On this masterpiece his loin cloth is decorated with a large chased floral print.

Tibet, mahasiddhas – unidentified (8)

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt copper, private collection, published on Artkhade.

Mahasiddhas nearly always have their hair fastened in a topknot. They occasionally wear it loose over their shoulders or piled up on their head. Seen from the front, this man has short curly hair (which may be long at the back). The wide gaze and the cross-belt indicate that he was a yogi.

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt metal, private collection, item 203934 on HAR.

Seated in a relaxed posture, the above leans on his left arm and holds a skull cup filled with blood in the other. He is adorned with a floral tiara and bone ornaments including the traditional cross-belt with a large flower at the centre.

18th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, painted clay, private collection, photo by  Galerie Zacke

An elderly man seated on the skin of an antelope (identified by the hooves) and wearing a long garment. He holds a vase of longevity against his chest and may have had another attribute in his left hand.

Tibet, Virupa – variants (5)

13th century, Tibet or China, Mahasiddha Virupa, metal (with cold gold and pigments), at the Lima Lakhang of the Potala in Lhasa (Tibet), inv. 1573, Nepalese artist, published by Ulrich von Schroeder, 1994.

The Indian master raises his left hand to stop the course of the Sun while holding a skull cup in the other. His raised knee is held in place with a meditation strap, his right elbow leans on an element built in the arch. A female attendant offers him a bowl (of food, presumably). His hair is adorned with a floral tiara, an anti-caste symbol.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet?, Indian adept Virupa, (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Raising his right hand towards the Sun and holding a skull cup in the other hand, his right leg pendant, the knee loosely held by a meditation strap, the foot placed on a lotus sprouting from the plinth of the lotus base, which is covered with an antelope skin. He wears a garland of flowers and matching accessories, his topknot is decorated with a half vajra finial. There is a large vessel next to him.

Indian adept Virupa, (16th century?, Tibet?), metal (gilt copper or copper alloy with stone inlay), private collection, photo on HAR

Leaning on his right arm, his legs not quite locked, the left arm pointing to the Sun, a ritual vase topped with a skull cup placed before him. He is adorned with large hoops, a floral tiara, bone jewellery inlaid with turquoise, a cross-belt; his hair is rolled in a top knot decorated with a floral finial. The animal skin on the seat seems to have (tiger or leopard) claws rather than hooves.

16th century, Tibet, Indian adept Virupa, metal (copper alloy with a high copper content), private collection, photo on HAR 

A particularly ornate image of the mahasiddha seated in the royal ease position, no meditation belt or animal skin, adorned with large floral earrings, matching garland and cross-belt, princely jewellery and festooned belt, a manuscript secured in his topknot.

16th century, Tibet, Indian adept Virupa, gilt metal, private collection, photo on HAR

A rare example of him displaying a pill between thumb and forefinger. He is seated on an antelope skin with his feet crossed, adorned with large floral and princely accessories, a manuscript tucked into his topknot.

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, gilt metal, at the Chhatrapati Shivaij Museum in Mumbai (India), photo on HAR

Seated on an antelope skin, ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ with his hands.

Tibet, Mahasiddha Kanha (3)

First half of the 16th century (labelled 1400-1499 on HAR), Tibet, gilt copper repoussé with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the Mindrolling monastery, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Kanha, metal (brass with silver-inlaid eyes), at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel, photo on HAR

16th century, Tibet, Kanha, gilt metal (copper alloy) with turquoise inlay and pigments, item 11026 on HAR

This Indian adept often does the gesture to bestow refuge with his right hand (tip of ring finger on tip of thumb) while holding a skull cup in the other.

Mahasiddha Kanha pos., 16th c., Tibet, bronze, 10,8 cm, pos. Kanha, Pundoles

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, possibly Kanha, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Pundoles.

Tibet, various mahasiddhas (6)

16th century, Tibet, Naropa, metal (copper alloy), at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel, photo on HAR

Depicted with a mahasiddha appearance, his hair tied in a top knot, adorned with bone ornaments including a cross-belt and dressed with a tiger skin loin cloth, Naropa holds a human hide across his back.

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Naropa, metal (copper alloy), at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel, item 3314781 on Himalayan Art Resources.

He may also be seated on a lion skin and hold a skull cup filled with nectar (usually in his left hand) while doing a symbolical gesture with the other, in this case to bestow refuge.

14th century, Tibet, Ghantapa, gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, photo on  Himalayan Art Resources 

Originally published in the bodhisattva section as “16th century, Tibet, Ghantapani, gilt copper alloy inlaid with stones, private collection, photo by Christie’s”, this figure has been identified as Indian adept Ghantapa on the above-mentioned website, and classified as a Densatil Monastery style work (which fits in with the facial features, the design of the jewellery and the small size of the stone inlay).

He wears a cross belt and has a vajra finial on his chignon. He holds a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell.

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Dombi Heruka, metal, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel, photo on HAR

Dombi Heruka is riding a tigress and holding a skull cup in his left hand and possibly a serpentine lasso in the other.

Tibet, Mahasiddha Avadhutipa (4)

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Avadhutipa, metal (copper alloy), private collection, photo on HAR

This Indian king who was converted buddhism is often depicted leaning on his left arm, his right hand doing the ‘calling Earth to witness’ gesture associated with the historical buddha.

15th-16th century, Tibet, (Tsang province), Avadhutipa, brass inlaid with silver and copper, is or was at the V&A museum in London (UK).

Alternatively he does a pointing gesture with his right hand. He is usually adorned with a floral tiara and matching adornments. The above is seated on an antelope skin.

16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Avadhutipa, metal, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland), photo on Himalayan Art Resources