Tibet, Gayadhara

15th century, Tibet, Mahapandita Gayadhara, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Pandita (‘great scholar’) Gayadhara, wears a robe and hat richly engraved with a floral and rice grain pattern, his right hand doing the gesture of teaching and displaying an incised diamond. His small moustache and goatee and his eyes are inlaid with silver.

15th century circa, Tibet, Pandita Gayadhara, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Another fine portrait of the same Indian scholar, with silver-inlaid eyes, urna, moustache and goatee, his hands turning the wheel of dharma. Every other petal on the lotus base is inlaid with copper.

16th century, Tibet, Indian teacher Gayadhara, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Gayadhara holds a skull cup in his left hand and a small object likely to be a vajra sceptre in the other.

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Tibet, various panditas

13th-14th century, Tibet, pandit, copper alloy and cold gold, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This unidentified character holds a vajra sceptre in his right hand and a skull cup in the other.

14th century, same as before, copper alloy with silver inlay, same as before.

In buddhism, the term pandit or pandita, of Hindu origin, refers to Indian scholars and teachers who have mastered 5 sciences (the sanskrit language, reasoning, medicine, arts and spirituality). They are normally depicted with a monastic robe and a pointed hat with long flaps on each side.

15th century circa, Tibet, Kushalipa, gilt copper alloy, probably part of a Chakrasamavara set, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Kushalipa, an accomplished Indian teacher who spent several years teaching the dharma in Tibet, is seated in the vajra position with his hands turning the wheel of dharma. He wears a fine robe decorated with a chased floral pattern.

15th century, Tibet, almost certainly Mahapandita Vanaratna, gilt copper alloy and paint, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This mahapandita (‘very great scholar’) is thought to be Vanaratna, who made several journeys to Tibet, where he was asked to teach a particular aspect of buddhism in which he specialised.

 

 

Tibet, Shantideva

15th century, Tibet, Mahapandita Shantideva, gilt copper and pigments, private collection.

15th century, Tibet, Mahapandita Shantideva, gilt copper and pigments, private collection.

The mahapandita (Indian monk and teacher) is seated on a throne supported by various Jambhala figures (the central one riding a lion and holding a parasol and a mongoose). He holds a book/manuscript in his left hand and does the vitarka mudra with the other. The hem of his clothes is decorated with a scroll pattern. His graceful face is enhanced by his red pandita hat with wide flaps and rounded ends. The base of the throne imitates a rocky formation.

Tibet, Atisha (2)

16th century, Tibet, Atisha, copper alloy and cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie's.

16th century, Tibet, Atisha, copper alloy and cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

An inscription on the base of this sculpture identifies him as Atisha, the famous Indian teacher. He is seated in the vajra position, his hands doing the ‘turning-the-wheel- of- dharma’ gesture (dharmacakra mudra), dressed in monastic robes with smooth folds and rounded hems that indicate a Chinese influence, his head topped with his traditional pandita hat. His smiling face has been painted with cold gold and pigments.

16th century circa, Tibet, Atisha, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

16th century circa, Tibet, Atisha, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

The elongated torso on this one points to the 17th century but the lotus base corresponds to an earlier style. His right hand does the vitarka mudra (debate, teaching) and the left hand does the dhyana mudra (meditation).

17th century circa, Tibet, Atisha, gilt copper, at the Indian Museum of Calcutta.

17th century circa, Tibet, Atisha, gilt copper, at the Indian Museum of Kolkata.

The teacher is seated on an animal skin, over a double-lotus base, his red pandita hat topped with a lotus-bud finial, a large urn to his left, a bell with a crescent moon and sun disc handle to his right, both on a small lotus stand, his upper garment covering both shoulders.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Atisha, gilt copper alloy, at Newark.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Atisha, gilt copper alloy and pigments, at the Newark Museum (USA).

Atisha is seated on a couple of cushions covered with a blanket, surrounded by two lotuses that support a bell with a crescent moon and a sun disc handle to the right and a round urn to the left.

Atisha, Tibet, 17th-18th c., mercury gilt c.a.+pig., 19,6 cm, face

The conical part of his hat is unusually tiered, the rest is finely incised like the hem his garments. His skin and facial features are painted with cold gold and with pigments. We have seen this contrast between the bright hue of the lavish gilding and the darker colour of the face on some Mongolian works made around the 17th century.

 

 

Tibet, Indian scholar Atisha

17th century circa, Tibet, copper alloy, published by Rossi.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, copper alloy, published by Rossi.

The tantric master is depicted with his pointed lama hat and a richly incised robe, sitting on a single-lotus base over an incised throne supported by scrolled vegetation, and flanked by lotuses. A certain Chinese influence can be seen in the elaborate throne, the floral patterns and the folds of the cloth.

15th century circa, Tibet, copper alloy with pigments, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This much earlier representation shows him wearing a plain garment and sitting on a typically Tibetan double-lotus base. His faces has been painted with cold gold and pigments as can be appreciated from the close-up below, which also enhances the realistic fingers and nails.

Atisha, Tibet, 15th c. cir., c.a.+ cold gold, close up