Tibet, unidentified wrathful deities (6)

17th century, Tibet, (labelled ‘Bhurkumkuta’), gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt

This statue is almost identical to one of an unidentified three-headed deity with six arms seen here.  Unlike Bhurkumkuta, both of them hold a vajra in the top right hand instead of a visvajra. The above holds a wheel and a jewel in his remaining right hands, a stick or knife in the lower left hand.

15th-16th century, Tibet, (labelled ‘possibly Vajravidarana’), gilt bronze (on a separate base), private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

This figure with a friendly yaksha appearance holds a visvajra in his left hand and a vase of longevity in the other (Vajravidarana normally holds a visvajra in his right hand and has a bell in the other, although this photo could be the wrong way round). He wears a tiger skin loin cloth and has a third eye. The half-kneeling and half-crouching pose suggests he may an attendant.

16th century, Tibet, tantric deity, bronze with traces of gilding and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 104 China 2.

A one-head and six-arm deity with a vajra sceptre and bell in his main hands crossed over his heart, a visvajra and another attribute in his middle hands, a flaming jewel in each of this top hands. He has a human appearance with a semi-wrathful face, with three eyes and wears princely jewellery, a long stripy dhoti held in place with a heavy belt and a sash decorated with a chased floral pattern.

18th century, Tibet, labelled ‘Kubera’, gilt copper repoussé, private collection, photo on Drouot.

Unlike naga kings, who have a princely appearance, this character with seven-naga hood has a friendly yaksha appearance, like Jambhala and Kubera, but not their attributes. He holds a snake in his left hand and his right hand is just placed over his raised knee.

18th century, Tibet, labelled ‘dharmapala’, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Aguttes 2019

Few wrathful male deities may have three heads and eight hands and none of them quite correspond to the above figure. He holds a vajra sceptre and a skull cup in his main hands placed around his consort, the other attributes are missing.


Tibet, Lokeshvara Guhyasamaja

15th century, Tibet, Lokeshvara Guhyasamaja, gilt copper alloy (and stones missing), private collection, photo on Bonhams

We saw this work before, labelled Amoghapasha by a different source even though there is no pasha (noose) in any of his hands; also, the photo was the wrong way round. Bonhams identify him as ‘Lokeshvara Guhyasamaja’ and the photo is the correct way round. He has three heads and six hands, and holds a (broken) sword and a vajra sceptre in his right hands, the third one is plucking a triple lotus. His left hands hold a (broken) dharma wheel, a triple gem, and a vajra bell together with the stem of the lotuses. Guhyasamaja is a generic term which includes four entities. The Lokeshvara form is a meditational deity related to Amitabha, very rarely seen in sculpture.

Tibet, unidentified wrathful deities (5)

14th-16th century, Tibet, Mahamaya? (labelled ‘Vajravarahi), bronze, private collection, photo on Waddingtons

This male deity standing on a victim has one head and four hands, in which he holds a bow and an arrow, a ritual staff and a vajra sceptre. Mahamaya holds a bow, an arrow and a ritual staff but the fourth hand holds a skull cup, and he normally has four heads.

Unlabelled (Tibet or Nepal, copper alloy with traces of red pigment), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

This character with a friendly yaksha appearance and four hands holds a fly whisk and a noose, a vajra-tipped stick and a missing object close to his heart. He wears a tight-fitting tiger skin loincloth knotted at the back, a three-leaf crown (which suggests an early date) with rosettes and bows, snakes, including one to tie his flaming hair. This may be a four-hand form of Vajrapani known as mahabala: the top ones hold a club or a stick and a noose, the lower ones hold a fly whisk and a vajra sceptre. The photo may be the wrong way round as wrathful figures depicted in the ‘fighting pose’ normally bend the right knee (and Vajrapani usually holds his main attribute in his main right hand). We saw a Blue Achala with the same type of pineapple-like hairstyle here.

16th century, Tibet, Mahakala? (labelled ‘Jambhala’), bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Standing on two victims, the above holds a triple gem surrounded with flames associated with Green Jambhala, but all forms of Jambhala have a mongoose in their left hand. The triratna in conjunction with a pot of gems in the left hand corresponds to the shanglon form of Mahakala, who normally has a naga hood. In this case, the arch behind him is decorated with serpentine flames and topped with a snake. He wears large earrings shaped like round gems, beaded jewellery, a floral garland and cloud-shaped shawl.

12th century, Tibet, attendant? (labelled ‘Mahasiddha’), bronze, private collection, photo by Hardt Auctions.

A curious figure with a yaksha appearance, with a third eye and flaming hair (probably orange originally), adorned with a low five-leaf tiara, large hoops and snakes.

Tibet, Kshetrapala

15th century, Tibet, Tsang province, Kshetrapala, bronze with traces of cold gold, at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (USA).

Kshetrapala is a retinue figure in Shadhuja Mahakala sets. He wears a tiger skin loin cloth and a skull crown, rides a bear, wields a vajra sceptre or a flaying knife in his right hand and holds a skull cup in the other. The above has a scallop-shaped hair bunch, large earrings, bone jewellery and matching cross-belt, a celestial scarf. On this example the bear clearly looks like a bear.

18th century, Kshetrapala?, labelled ‘Garwa Nagpo’, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Michaan’s Auctions on Michaan’s

This wrathful male described as riding a black wolf was published some time ago, along with unidentified deities (he holds a flaying knife, which doesn’t correspond to Garwa Nagpo). His mount looks more like a bear than a wolf and the position of his left hand suggests he once held a skull cup, so we may be looking at Kshetrapala.

Undated (circa 18th century?), Tibet, Kshetrapala, bronze with gilding and pigment, at the AMNH (American Museum of National History) in New York (USA).

For more information see the page devoted to Kshetrapala on HAR , which includes a particularly beautiful painting from the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.

Tibet, Humkara (2)

11th century, Western Tibet, Trailokyavijaya, brass, 22 cm, at the Imperial Palace in Beijing (China) photo on HAR , caption here

Humkara/Vajrahumkara is a one-head or three-head variant of Trailokyavijaya (who has 4 heads). On this Kashmir-style sculpture he has an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress and holds a vajra-tipped sword and a tripartite flower with a gem in his upper hands, a wheel and a lotus in the middle ones, a vajra sceptre and a bell in the main ones crossed at the wrist.

16th century, Tibet, Humkara, bronze, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

This figure bites his lower lip with his upper fangs and wears a tiger skin loin cloth, bone and snake ornaments, including a long snake used as a sacred thread and another used as a girdle. He holds a vajra sceptre and a triratna in his upper hands, a sword and a lotus flower in the middle hands, a vajra sceptre and a bell in his remaining hands, which are not crossed at the wrist.

Undated, Tibet, Humkara, bronze, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

He normally has a human appearance but on this late example he has a yaksha appearance, with flaming hair, and holds his main attributes in his upper hands.  He has a hook (elephant goad) and a lasso in the middle ones and the main ones do a symbolical gesture.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrahumkara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

This figure is seated, which doesn’t correspond to the textual descriptions. Apart from the traditional vajra sceptre and bell he holds a flaming wheel; the other attributes are missing. It is not clear whether the other two hands on each side are joined together, as sometimes happens, or whether he only has four.

Tibet, Dorje Drolo

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Dorje Drolo, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo onChristie’s

16th century, Tibet, Dorje Drolo, bronze (brass), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

There are very few sculptures of Dorje Drolo. This wrathful form of Padmasambhava (or one of his emanations) is identified by the tigress on which he stands. He holds a vajra sceptre in his right hand and a kila peg in the other, has a third eye and bites his lower lip with his upper fangs. Compare these two with a similar sculpture seen in a previous post and published here

Undated, Dorje Drolo, Tibet, (copper alloy), at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland), item 3314834 on HAR.

18th century, Tibet, Dorje Drolo, wood with paint, is or was at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

Undated, Dorje Drolo, Tibet, painted clay, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Undated, Tibet, Dorje Drolo, painted wood, item 34198 on HAR.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Dorje Drolo, bronze (brass), private collection, photo on Wooley & Wallis

This one also has a scorpion in his left hand, an attribute associated with Guru Dragpo, another emanation of Padmasambhava.

Tibet, figures riding a goat

18th century, Tibet (or Sino-Tibetan?), Damchen Garwa Nagpo, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Tienkong.

Garwa Nagpo always rides a billy goat with twisted horns and has both arms stretched to display a vajra-tipped hammer in his right hand and a pair of bellows in the other (both missing here) since he is a blacksmith. He has a third eye, a wrathful countenance and wears long silk garments, felt boots and usually has a riding helmet.

Circa 18th century, Tibet (or Tibeto-Chinese?), Garwa Nagpo (labelled ‘Dorje Legpa’), gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on aaoarts .

Garwa Nagpo is the main attendant or officer of Dorje Legpa and sometimes a form of Dorje Legpa on paintings. This figure holds small bellows in his left hand.

18th century, Tibet, Garwa Nagpo, (labelled ‘Pehar’), silver and gilt base, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 101 China 1.

Himalayan sculptures of him are often late Tibeto-Chinese or Sino-Tibetan works on which he is shown crossing a sea of blood. In this case, the artist has given more life to it by adding a stippled motif to the sculpted waves.

18th century, Tibet (or Sino-Tibetan?), damcan Dorje Legpa (or Garwa Nagpo?), gilt copper alloy, private collection on Artkhade.

In Tibetan, damchen/damcan/demchen is a general term that originally referred to non-Buddhist deities who were eventually subdued and became protectors of the Buddhist faith (dharmapala). Dorje Legpa normally wears a cane hat or helmet whereas on paintings Garwa Nagpo may have a skull crown and flaming hair, as above.

NOt Garwa Nagpo, Tibet, 18th c., parcel gilt bronze, 15 cm, oval rocky base, HK Sotheby's

18th century, Tibet, unidentified (labelled Garwa Nagpo), parcel-gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Unlike Garwa Nagpo, who also rides a goat (with twisted horns), this personage dressed in kingly attire has a peaceful face with a five-leaf crown and a tall chignon. He has both hands cupped as if to support some attributes, now missing, and rides across a sea of blood. The mountain-like shapes around the base usually represent cinnabar, one of the eight precious substances. On this occasion they have a stippled lotus pattern on them.