Tibet, Padmasambhava – variants (6)

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze (brass) with cold gold, pigments and turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on HAR

A classic representation of the Indian teacher, seated in the vajra position and holding a vajra sceptre pointing to his heart and a skull cup, his lotus hat decorated with a sun-and-moon symbol at the front and topped with a vulture feather, dressed in kingly attire.

Undated, Tibet?, Padmasambhava, gilt copper alloy with stone or glass inlay, private collection, photo on HAR

On this curious image he has the wide gaze of a yogi. The sides of his hat are unfolded, the vajra sceptre is held diagonally and there is another, larger one before him on the lotus base. He appears to have a sleeveless garment on top of a long-sleeve one, a cloak and a necklace over it.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, metal, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland), item 3314793 on HAR.

With his consorts, Mandarava, who holds a pot with a lid, and Yeshe Tsogyal, who holds a skull cup.

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava and his 8 incarnations, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Hardt (page 60).

A late tree-like arrangement with Padmasambhava at the centre and his eight emanations around him. Sengge Dradog, wielding a vajra sceptre and doing a threatening gesture at heart level and Dorje Drolo wielding a vajra sceptre and holding a kila peg downwards, his tiger mount missing, are at the foot of the lotus throne. Above them, Nyima Oser with a mahasiddha appearance, wearing a scarf and a skull crown and holding a lasso and a ritual staff (vice-versa in this case) and Sakya Sengge, with a buddha appearance and holding an alms bowl in his left hand and a vajra sceptre in the other. Further above, the image is too blurred to distinguish with certainty Pema Gyalpo, who wears kingly attire and holds a drum in his right hand and a mirror plus a bowl in the other from Loden Chogse, also in kingly attire and holding a drum in his right hand and a mirror or a skull cup in the other; at the top, Orgyen Dorje Chang in embrace with his consort, and Pema Jungne wearing a pandita hat and doing the gesture of debate with his right hand, supporting a bowl with the other.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt metal, item 1109 on HAR.

Dressed like a buddha, part of his chest and his left arm bare, and adorned with floral earrings and a necklace.

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Tibet, Padmasambhava – variants (5)

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze (copper alloy), Navin Kumar collection, item 70644 on Himalayan Art Resources.

Padmasambhava, identified by the vulture feather on his hat and his attributes, is seated with his legs locked, pointing a vajra sceptre to his heart and holding a skull cup in his left hand, his ritual staff propped against his left shoulder. His facial features with almond-shaped eyes and the large solar symbol at the front of his hat are reminiscent of the famous mohras from Himachal Pradesh (see here). 

Undated (15th or 16th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Padmasambhava, (brass), private collection, photo on HAR

Obviously made by a Tibetan artist, the above has a moon-like face with small silver-inlaid eyes and pursed lips typical of a group of brass works attributed to a Tsang province workshop. He has a tear-shaped urna on his forehead and the traditional sun-and-moon symbol at the front of his hat.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, metal (brass) with turquoise and silver inlay, private collection, item 200467 on HAR.

Guru Rinpoche (or Rimpoche), as he is also known, often wears large floral earrings and sumptuous silk clothes with an embroidered hem. On this example his garments are richly incised with a floral pattern. His urna and his accessories are inlaid with small turquoise cabochons, including the sun and the vajra symbol on his lotus-shaped hat and the rosettes and streamers on each side.

17th-18th century, Tibet or Mongolia, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

An unusual portrait of him seated at ease with his left knee raised, wearing a pointed hat, plain clothes, felt boots and no jewellery.

17th . cir?, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt metal, 13198 HAR

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt metal, private collection, photo on HAR

Wearing plain monastic garments (rather than kingly attire that covers both arms) and sitting on a tiger skin over the type of square cushions that were popular during the 17th century and beyond.

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy) repoussé, private collection, photo by Waddingtons.

Donning a prominent hat topped with a heavy half-vajra and vulture feather finial.

Tibet, Padmasambhava (17)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo on Pundoles

Guru Rinpoche seated with his legs locked, holding his vajra sceptre higher up than usual, a skull cup placed in his left hand above his lap. His face is painted with cold gold, his eyes, thin moustache and tiny goatee with black pigment, he is coiffed with his traditional lotus hat with a moon and sun symbol at the front and a vulture feather on the top.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze (copper alloy) with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Lempertz, auction 1034.

When seated this way his vajra sceptre normally points to his heart as above. The shape of the lotus base and the pieces of metal protruding on the sides suggest that this sculpture was part of a composition, possibly with his two wives on a smaller scale, standing next to him. The cloud-shaped cape that covers his shoulders is part of his garb.

Late 15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Live Auctioneers

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Sotheby’s

A rare example of him holding the vajra sceptre upright in his hand and away from his heart.

16th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze+turq., Mokotoff

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Mokotoff

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Andrew Lau for Hollywood Galleries

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy) photo by Armandantiques

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy, with cold gold and pigments), private collection, photo on Arts d’Asie

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Koller

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava (labelled karmapa), gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on https://www.lot-art.com

Tibet, Padmasambhava – variants (4)

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo on dcpai

The co-founder of Tibetan Buddhism is depicted in a standard form, seated with his legs locked, holding a vajra sceptre pointing to his heart and a skull cup filled with nectar, jewels and/or a long-life vase, wearing his distinctive five-petal lotus hat with a sun and moon symbol at the front and a half-vajra finial topped with a (missing) vulture feather, his ritual staff missing from the loop in the crook of his left arm. His face and neck recently painted with cold gold, the frowning eyebrows, thin moustache and goatee with pigment.

Undated (circa 15th century?), Central Tibet, Tsang province, Padmasambhava, brass with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Hanhai Auction on HAR.

This harmonious portrait of the Indian master is testimony to the high degree of craftsmanship for which Central Tibetan ateliers are renowned. The eyes and (missing) urna are inlaid with silver, the lips with copper, his garments decorated with a chased floral and scroll pattern.

Undated (15th-16th century?), Tibet, (Padmasambhava), bronze, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK) photo on vam

Here only the border of his clothes is decorated with an embroidered motif, and he sits on a double-lotus base.

A view of the rear shows the cloud-shaped collar of the cloak he usually wears. There is an inscription in Tibetan on the blank space reserved for it at the back of the seat.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Fabrice Gousset for aaoarts

A tiny (9 cm) sculpture on which the vajra sceptre is held sideways and one of his boots is showing from under the cloak.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava (labelled ‘lama’), bronze, private collection, photo on Cambiaste

He is often depicted with a ritual staff (khatvanga) with ribbons, a horizontal vajra sceptre, two freshly severed heads, a skull, and a trident.

18th c. cir., Tibet, Padmasambhava, wood, 32 cm, MC Daffos aaoarts.com

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, polychrome wood, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos for aaoarts

Another with a boot showing.

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper repoussé, private collection, photo by Florence Numer Nine

18th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze, 11,5 cm, cambiaste

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste on Cambiaste.

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava (labelled ‘warrior’), bronze, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste .

When seated at ease, in this case on a Mongolian-style lotus base, the vajra sceptre is usually held over his knee.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, brass, private collection, photo by Fabrice Gousset for aaoarts

One of a group of statues of Padmasambhava in his medicine buddha form,  holding a branch (from the arura tree) and a medicine jar, accompanied by the eight medicine buddhas carved around the lotus base. We saw an almost identical one with silver-inlaid eyes dated 17th-18th century by Christie’s and there is also a much more recent one at the University of Virginia Art Museum pictured on Himalayan Art Resources

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava, copper alloy, Julian Sterling collection, photo by Mossgreen Auctions published on Himalayan Art Resources item 203262.

18th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Nagel

Padmasambhava with Mandarava, to his right, and Yeshe Tsogyal, to his left.

Tibet, Padmasambhava (16)

16th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams https://www.bonhams.com.

A standard portrait of Padmasambhava in his normal form, seated in the vajra position, holding a vajra sceptre pointing to his heart, a skull cup and a ritual staff, dressed in kingly attire, his head coiffed with a lotus hat with a vulture feather on top and a sun-and-moon symbol at the front, adorned with large earrings.

17th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt metal with cold gold and pigments, private collection, item 16285 on Himalayan Art Resources.

The use of pigments enhances the wide gaze of a youthful man, who sports the thin moustache and goatee we are accustomed to see him with.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller http://www.kollerauktionen.ch. .

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi (India), item 71847 on Himalayan Art Resources.

We saw a very similar work, complete with ritual staff (missing here from the loop on his shoulder), dated 18th century.

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk.

A similar subject on an innovative double-lotus base, with one row of overlapping three-lobed lotus petals (a recurrent feature in 17th century, and, to a lesser extent, 18th century Tibet, and also the standard design for the Bhutanese lotus base) and one row of very broad flat petals with a prominent curly tip.

12th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, ivory or bone?, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources https://www.himalayanart.org/items/8048.

A rare composition with Padmasambhava as the central character, mythical figures on the inner arch, peaceful and wrathful deities on the outer arch.

Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts

15th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts, gilt copper, is or was at the Tibet Museum in Lhasa, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 9224.

Padmasambhava is often portrayed with his two consorts. Mandarava usually stands to his right, holding a pot or a skull cup, or a long-life vase as above. Yeshe Tsogyal stands on the other side and often holds a skull cup in one or both hands.

15th century, (Tibet), Padmasambhava with consorts, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Heritage Auctions https://www.ha.com.

Like all attendants, they are smaller than the character they accompany.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts, metal with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 16291.

As a norm, he sits in the vajra position and they stand on a lotus sprouting from the base.

16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts, metal (copper alloy) with turquoise, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 1754.

On this singular work the two ladies look like tiny yakshis seated at royal ease on a lotus sprouting from the base.

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts, gilt metal with turquoise, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 30513.

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, at Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 71894.

Tibet, Padmasambhava – variants (3)

15th-16th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze+pig., 33,2 cm, kapala+flaming jewels, vajra, cloak incised with floral bands+symbols, HK Sotheby's

15th-16th century, Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The famous Indian tantric master is depicted here with a chubby face and no facial hair, seated with his legs locked, the right hand holding a vajra sceptre that points to his heart, the other sustaining a skull cup filled with jewels and a long-life vase.

16th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, bronze (copper alloy), at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.

We rarely see him as an old man, and although there are many variations on his hat the above is unusually big and tall, with pointed ends. It has a half-vajra and feather finial, and the usual sun-and-moon symbol on the front panel.

16th c., Tibet, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze+turq., 20,3 cm, rare vajra-topped cap+skull crown with 5 tathagatas, vajra+bell, Christie's

16th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this very rare sculpture, his hat is complemented by a crown with five skulls, each topped with a foliate panel with the effigy of a wisdom buddha. There is a bell in his left hand instead of a skull cup.

Undated (circa 15th century), Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze (with traces of cold gold), at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi (India), photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 71822.

Another rare image of him wearing a five-leaf crown, his hair pulled in a top knot with a half vajra finial.

The rich decoration incised on his garments and the shape of the lotus base suggest the item was made in the Tsang province of Central Tibet, around the 15th century.

16th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, brass with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Heritage Auctions

A discreet headband with turquoise-inlaid rosettes has been added to his head gear on this other masterpiece.

Undated, Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze (copper alloy), at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi (India), photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 71843.

The use of pigments for the eyes together with harmonious facial features and body proportions give a particularly life-like result. The sun-and-moon symbol is placed high up near the finial rather than on the front panel.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Dreweatts

Normally dressed in kingly attire, his outer gown often has a broad hem decorated with a chased floral pattern and usually has a lapel with a cloud motif, printed or cut out. On this harmonious example, the cloud shape has also been used on the front panel of the crown and for the elixir coming out of the long-life vase.

Undated, (13th century?), Tibet, Padmasambhava with consorts, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, at Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 71806.

On this much earlier work, Padmasambhava is wearing more modest garments.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Padmsambhava, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and coral, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Here, he holds the attribute upright. His hat is topped with two feathers on a half-vajra, and the front is decorated with turquoise and coral.

Undated (18th century or later), Tibet, Padmasambhava, bronze with cold gold and pigments, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi (India), item 71871 on Himalayan Art Resources.

One of a few sculptures that depict him seated at royal ease and holding the vajra sceptre above his right knee. The front part of his hat is decorated with a floral motif.