Tibet, Begtse Chen (2)

18th century, Tibet, Begtse Chen (labelled ‘Mahakala’), bronze, private collection, photo by Millon, Art d’Asie, 12th December 2017, lot 164.

Although Begtse Chen was probably known in Tibet earlier, the few metal sculptures of him made in Tibet seem to be late Chinese-style ones. He is identified by the scorpion-hilted sword (broken here) in his right hand and the wrenched human heart in his left hand. As a pre-buddhist Central Asian war god, he always wears a coat of mail and thick felt boots, and is usually depicted trampling on a horse and a human victim.

18th century, Tibet, Begtse Chen, gilt copper (alloy?) with pigment, private collection, photo on Concept Art  .

His outfit includes a cuirass and a tiger skin or an apron held in place with a belt and a pendant consisting in two fish facing each other.

18th century, Tibet (or Tibeto-Chinese?), Begtse Chen, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Millon, Arts d’Asie 11th December 2011, lot 340.

A singular example with two four-arm victims under his feet. Below his cuirass the loss of the fish pendant reveals Kirtimukha, upside-down.

Tibet, various riders

15th century, Tibet, unidentified, stone, Navin Kumar collection, item 70712 on Himalayan Art Resources.

A horse-rider in long silk garments, adorned with a five-skull crown, earrings and a necklace, his attributes missing from his hands, one of them possibly a lance.

16th-17th century (or later?), Tibet, Garwa Nagpo, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on liveauctioneers.

Dorje Legpa’s main attendant always rides a billy goat with twisted horns and he usually sits sideways with both arms stretched horizontally. He has the same appearance as other protectors often referred to as ‘damcan’: wrathful, with a third eye, bared fangs, orange hair, long silk garments covering both arms, riding boots and hat.

18th century, Tibet, Garwa Nagpo? (labelled ‘Dam-can’), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo  Bonhams  

His cane hat is either flat or like a helmet. He holds a hammer in his right hand and some bellows in the other (missing from the above examples).

Circa 18th century, Eastern Tibet, dra-lha kye chigbu, gilt bronze with pigments, private collection, photo on Leonard Joel  .

With the same appearance, the speech aspect of Pehar rides a mule sideways and holds a cane stick in his right hand and a sandalwood club in the other (also missing here). The above example is adorned with earrings and necklaces but goes bare feet.

18th century, Tibet, Mahapancaraja, gilt and polychrome copper alloy, private collection, photo on Tajan

Another of the five deities known as ‘the five great kings’ (mahapancaraja), Bihar Nagpo/bGya Byin is the mind aspect of Pehar. He rides an elephant and holds a (missing) spear (missing here) and a snare.

18th century, Tibet, unidentified male rider (labelled ‘Sri Devi’), bronze, private collection, photo on JJ Mathias  

This fierce male figure on a horse, probably a retinue figure, wears boots, a tiger skin garment and another tiger skin on his back and over his head.

18th-19th century, Tibet or Mongolia, Tsangpa Karpo, bronze, private collection, photo on Leonard Joel

A late but rare sculpture of Tsangpa Karpo in his one-head and two-hand form, who normally rides his horse sideways. He wears boots and silk garments tied with a girdle from which a quiver is suspended, a skull crown and a conch shell finial on his head,has a sword in his right hand, a bowl of jewel in the left one and a lance with a silk banner in the crook of his left arm (missing here).

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.