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.

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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

 

Tibet, Mahasiddha Dampa Sangye (4)

For detailed biographical notes on this particularly interesting Indian tantric master see here

16th century, Tibet, Dampa Sangye, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Hanhai Auctions, published on HAR

Dampa Sangye in the ‘salute posture’, seated with his legs locked, his right hand raised above his head, holding a water pot in his left hand.

16th century (or earlier?), Tibet, Dampa Sangye, metal (copper alloy) at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland), photo on HAR

On this variant he is seated in the royal ease position and the right hand is lower down with the palm facing the viewer.

Undated (circa 15th century?), Tibet, Tsang province, copper alloy?, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland), photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 3314785.

Another recurrent depiction of him is one called ‘the pacification posture’. He may be seated with both knees raised, both hands doing the gesture of debate (vitarka) before his heart…

Undated, Tibet, brass, private collection, photo on HAR

(15th-16th century?, Tibet, Dampa Sangye), yogi, gilt bronze private collection, photo on Drouot

… or sit in a more relaxed posture with his legs crossed at the ankles with or without the help of a meditation strap.

(Undated, Tibet?) Dampa Sangye, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

In the ‘severance’ posture he holds a drum in his right hand at head level and a thigh bone trumpet in the other.

15th century, Tibet, Dampa Sangye, gilt copper or copper alloy, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

On this rare work he holds a horn (sometimes used to keep medicinal herbs in Tibet), and does a gesture to ward off evil.

Tibet, various mahasiddhas (5)

Undated (15th/16th century), Tibet, Tsang province, Mahasiddha, private collection, photo by Hanhai Auction, published on HAR

Jalandharapa stands in a yogic posture and holds both hands palm out over his forehead.

16th century, Tibet, Tilopa, gilt metal, private collection, published on HAR , item 33648.

Seated at ease with his left foot resting on a lotus flower, Tilopa holds a fish in his right hand and a skull cup in the other.

16th century, Tibet, Tilopa, metal, private collection, published on HAR

The same personage, seated in a yogic posture on an antelope skin, adorned with floral accessories.

14th century circa?, Tibet, Saraha (formerly labelled ‘Shavaripa’), (gilt copper or copper alloy with stone inlay) published on HAR, item 202832.

We have seen several Densatil-style sculptures like this before, some of them attributed to the Sonam Gyaltsen atelier in the Tsang province of Tibet, including a strikingly similar one of Saraha, who usually holds a long arrow in both hands (whereas Shavaripa would hold a bow and an arrow). He wears a crown with five skulls each topped with a stone-inlaid leaf, large hoops, princely jewellery, a cross belt and a meditation strap with a stone-inlaid rice grain pattern.

18th century, Tibet, Kukkuripa, gilt bronze (copper alloy with turquoise inlay), private collection, photo by Hampel Auctions

Kukkuripa always has his little dog with him.