Tibet, Virupa – variants (2)

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, at the Mindrolling monastery, photo on Himalayan Art Resources http://www.himalayanart.org/items/9187.

Like other mahasiddhas, Virupa may be depicted in a number of ways. He sometimes ‘turns the wheel of dharma‘ with his hands like the above figure seated on a tiger skin.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, gilt metal with paint, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 13196.

Undated, (Tibet or Nepal), Mahasiddha Virupa, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources http://www.himalayanart.org/items/30030.

Alternatively he leans on one hand and raises the other towards the sky to stop the course of the Sun.

Undated, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, metal (with traces of cold gold), private collection, as before, http://www.himalayanart.org/items/32256 .

He may also hold a skull cup in one hand. On this more ‘modern’ sculpture fashioned in the style of the 16th century he wears a floral tiara and matching garland.

 

 

 

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Tibet, Mahasiddha Avadhutipa (3)

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Avadhutipa, gilt metal and lapis lazuli inlay, private collection, photo on http://www.himalayanart.org/items/13215 .

A rare portrait of Avadhutipa, ‘The Mendicant’, seated with his legs crossed in an akward position, adorned with a sash, flowers and bone ornaments.

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Avadhutipa, gilt metal (with turquoise and coral inlay), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources (item 83701).

He is often shown seated at royal ease, usually leaning on his left arm while the right hand does the teaching gesture or ‘calls Earth to witness’. In this case he leans on his right arm and does a different gesture with the left hand, as if to hold an attribute.

16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Avadhutipa, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

He may also hold a skull cup in his left hand. On this example, the right hand does a fear-allaying gesture. He is seated on an antelope skin and his hair is rolled around a manuscript.

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Avadhutipa, gilt metal , private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 83733.

Yet another way of representing him, this time with his right forefinger pointing to the ground and his left hand doing the teaching gesture.

 

 

 

 

Tibet, various mahasiddhas (10)

Circa 12th century, Tibet, Naropa, copper with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa (Tibet), published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Tantric adept Naropa, ‘The Dauntless’, became abbot of the Nalanda monastery (Bihar, India), hence the monastic appearance on these two works.

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Padampa Sangye, stone, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Dampa Sangye, known under various names in India, is depicted here in the pacification posture. His hands are held palm out before his heart but instead of his legs being crossed and his knees raised as usual, he is seated with his legs loosely unfolded.

He has long locks of matted hair and wears bone ornaments, a cross belt, a lower garment and a meditation strap.

15th century, Himalayan region, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art https://www.himalayanart.org/items/81549 .

The use of pure copper and the shape of the lotus base point to a Nepalese artist, but the traces of cold gold on the face and lapis lazuli powder in the hair indicate that the figure was worshipped in Tibet, where he and other famous mahasiddhas were frequently depicted, both in sculpture and paintings.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi http://rossirossi.com .

Virupa may also ‘turn the wheel of dharma‘ with his hands. This work depicts him seated on a large lotus flower and surrounded with small lotuses supporting a vajra sceptre to his right and a bell to his left.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Saraha, bronze (with cold gold and pigments), private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk .

Saraha is identified by the long arrow he holds in both hands.

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

This unidentified character wears a skull crown, bone jewellery with a floral design and a matching cross belt. He holds a skull cup in his left hand and a vessel in the other.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Mahasiddhas are often shown wearing earplugs. The above holds a skull cup at heart level in his right hand and may have had another attribute in his left hand.

 

 

Tibet, various mahasiddhas (9)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Catrapa, bronze (copper alloy), at the Power House Museum in Sydney (Australia).

Adorned with large hoops and floral jewellery (an anti-caste symbol), the great tantric practitioner Catrapa is identified by the manuscript in his left hand. His right hand does the teaching gesture.

Undated, Siddha Dombi Heruka, Tibet, metal, at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

Mahasiddha Dompi Heruka, formerly King Cakravarman (Kashmir, 10th century AD), rides a pregnant tigress and is normally accompanied by his consort. He wears bone jewellery and has a skull in his headdress.

His attributes are a snake held like a lasso and a skull cup.

The above also wears snakes around his ankles and a dhoti incised with a floral motif. An inscription on the base bears his name.

Undated, Tibet, Mahasiddha Luipa, wood, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

Luipa, Master of Secrets, is identified by the fish gut he is eating. He sits on a deer skin over a thick cushion, a female attendant to his left, a large fish to his right.

Undated (15th-16th century), Central Tibet, Tsang, Mahasiddha Naropa, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Naropa often holds a human hide stretched across hiss back.

Undated (circa 15th century), Central Tibet, Tsang district, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Virupa may be depicted with various hand positions. This standard image shows him leaning on one hand while pointing to the Sun with the other, his head facing the viewer.

18th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Virupa, gilt copper alloy, at the Honolulu Museum of Art (Haiwai).

He usually sits at ease on a animal skin. On this example, the head of the animal is placed to his right, as is often the case with later sculptures.

Undated, Mahasiddha Virupa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Moke Mokotoff, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A rare work, with his face sideways. He sits on an antelope skin and wears a meditation strap, floral jewellery and a garland of flowers. There is a skull cup in his left hand.

Undated (circa 16th century), Central Tibet, Tsang, Mahasiddha Virupa, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

On occasions his hands do the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture. The above lotus base has an unusual top row of incised petals with three lobes, plus a standard row of plump elongated petals, thick beading and a plinth with a Tibetan inscription on it.

Late 16th or early 17th century, Central Tibet, Tsang, Mahasiddha, silver with turquoise inlay, at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (USA).

This unidentified Indian adept is adorned with a five-skull crown, bone jewellery, a bone cross-belt with pendants, a celestial scarf forming a frame around his head and shoulders. The right hand does a pointing gesture, the gesture of the left hand is used to bestow patience (tip of the middle finger against the tip of the thumb).

 

 

 

Tibet, Mahasiddha Ghantapa

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Ghantapada, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Ghantapa (or Ghantapada), ‘The Celibate Bell Ringer’, brandishes a vajra sceptre in his right hand and holds a bell (ghanta) in the other. He wears a conical headdress with a half-vajra finial, princely jewellery, a body belt with a rice-grain pattern that matches the hem of his calf-length garment.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

This figure, seated on an antelope skin and holding the same attributes could be Ghantapa.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha Ghantapa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Cornette de Saint-Cyr.

Quite a different portrait of the same man, his tongue pulled irreverently, the eyes bulging out, coiffed with a floral crown with long ribbons and adorned with serpentine bracelets and sacred thread, a beaded necklace and anklets.

Tibet, various mahasiddhas (8)

12th century, Tibet or Nepal, Mahasiddha, possibly Krishnacharya (Kanha), gilt copper and pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The Indian adept holds a skull cup in his right hand and seems to have had another object in his left hand, probably a drum or a vajra sceptre judging by the way he holds it. This iconography corresponds to various famous mahasiddhas, and some mahasiddhas can be depicted in several ways so it is difficult to identify them without an inscription on the base.

Late 15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

And even with an inscription on the back of the pedestal, it is not always clear who we are looking at. This particular one reads ‘homage to pha.rkon.tshan.ras.chen’. We saw a similar image of a certain Tenzin Lundrup with the same headdress. The above is seated on a tiger skin, and, like Virupa, he holds a skull cup in his left hand and does a pointing gesture with the other.

15th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, bronze (copper alloy) and pigments private collection.

This character is saluting with his right hand and holds a skull cup with a large spherical object (jewel?) in it.

17th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and red pigment, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This wrathful character wears a leopard skin loincloth and a human hide on his back. He holds a stick topped with a skull and may have had a skull cup in his left hand. The position of his legs suggests he was riding a mount, now missing. Some figures labelled ‘mahasiddha‘ are depicted with a semi-wrathful face and blue hair. This one has red flaming hair and looks rather like a wrathful deity.

18th century, Tibet (or India?), gilt bronze (copper alloy), same as before.

An unusual sculpture of a bearded man wearing a conical headdress, his right hand doing the teaching gesture, the other holding a manuscript, seated on an oval lotus base with incised petals, over a stepped rectangular plinth.

 

Tibet, various mahasiddhas (7)

Mahasiddha Kukkuripa, Tibet, undated, metal, at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

Kukkuripa is seated in the vajra position, stroking his little dog, who is standing on his lap, and holding a vajra-tipped stick in his left hand. He is adorned with a five-skull crown with long flowing ribbons, princely jewellery once inlaid with stones, including large floral disc earrings, a beaded cross belt and a belt with ‘raining jewel’ pendants.

 

15th-16th century, Tibet, bronze, Mahasiddha Catrapa, at the Power House Museum in Sydney (Australia).

Catrapa normally carries a manuscript (lost here) in one hand.

18th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and blue pigment, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This tantric practitioner holds a drum made of two skullcaps (damaru) in his right hand and a skull cup in the other.