Tibet, Vajrakila (5)

15th century, Tibet, Vajrakila, brass, private collection, Images of Devotion on Capriaquar

Vajrakila with 3 heads, 6 arms, 4 legs, standing on two victims and embracing his consort, Dipta Chakra. His main hands hold a kila peg behind her back, the upper hands hold a nine-prong vajra sceptre and some flames, the lower ones hold a five-prong vajra sceptre and a trident.

He wears a tiger skin loin cloth and has the hide of an elephant across his back. She holds a flaying knife and a skull cup.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrakila dagger, bronze, private collection, photo on Lempertz

With three heads and six arms, no legs, alone, holding the same attributes. Below him, a makara head and the three-sided blade of the kila.

16th century, Central Tibet, Vajrakila/Vajrakumara and consort, copper alloy with traces of paint, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

As one of the eight herukas, he may have wings.

Tibet, Vajrakila (3)

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Dordje Purbha (Dorje Phurba), bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Jacques How Choong on issuu

Known as Vajrakila, Vajrakilaya or Vajra kumara in sanskrit, this extremely wrathful deity has three heads and six arms, and may have four legs or a kila-shaped lower body. On this rare example he holds a kila (ritual peg-shaped dagger) in each of his main hands, his other attributes are a nine-prong and a five-prong vajra sceptre, some flames and a trident.

Clad in a tiger skin loin cloth, wearing a human hide over his back, he crushes two victims with his four legs.

Instead of the expected half vajra finial, there is an effigy of Amitabha on his head and another on the front panel of his crown. He appears to be chewing a corpse, like Magzor Gyalmo.

The incised and stippled decoration on the plinth, throne and lotus pedestal is typical of brass works thought to have been produced in the Ngari District around the 11th century.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrakila and Dipta Chakra, gilt bronze with stone inlay and pigments, private collection, photo on Pundoles.

In embrace with his consort, Dipta Chakra, who has one head and two hands in which she holds a skull cup and a flaying knife; he holds a kila in his main hands. We will note his tiger skin loin cloth and her leopard skin garment.

14th-15th century, Tibet, gilt bronze (copper alloy), Densatil style, Vajrakila, private collection, photo on Polyauction

On this Nepalese-style works she has a bone apron with long raining jewel pendants.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrakila, gilt bronze with pigments, at the Zhol Village Museum in Lhasa, photo by Petra Mueller on WHAV

Vajrakila is one of the few entities who may have wings. (On paintings he may also have 9 heads, 18 arms, 8 legs, or 1000 heads, 1000 arms).

On this Chinese-style sculpture his consort holds a skull cup and a wheel.

Tibet, Vajrakila (2)

12th century, Tibet, Vajrakila (labelled Samvara with consort), brass with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Originally published as Chakrasamvara, this deity with four heads, each with three eyes, six arms and 4 legs is in fact Vajrakila (and labelled as such on the Himalayan Art Resources website).

He is adorned with snakes, a foliate tiara on each head, large hoops on the main one, his flaming hair is gathered in a bunch and decorated with small buddhas. His main hands are cupped to hold what was should be a kila, his other right hands hold a nine-prong vajra and a five-prong vajra…

… the left ones hold a trident and some flames, all of which correspond to Vajrakila.

He wears a garland of severed heads, they tread on two victims. Diptachakra has one head and two hands, in which she holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

This heruka always has four legs (or a kila instead of legs),  the main left leg is always extended, the other is bent, the secondary legs are often smaller and dangling onto the lotus base.

Undated, Tibet, Vajrakila and consort, copper alloy, published in the Realm of Tibetan Buddhism, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

In the texts he is described as having a vajra finial on his chignon.

Tibet, Vajrakila

Vajrakila/Vajrakilaya or Vajrakumara is a semi-wrathful meditational deity (known as heruka) who embodies the activity of all buddhas. On paintings, he is always depicted with his consort but on sculptures he may be alone and usually has wings.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrakilaya, brass, at the Newark Museum (USA).

14th century, Tibet, Vajrakilaya, brass, at the Newark Museum (USA).

He has 3 faces with 3 eyes and bared fangs, a half-vajra finial on top of his head, six hands with various attributes. On the above picture, two of the left hands hold a trident, two of the right hands hold a thunderbolt or vajra, the other right hand has the palm open in a symbolical gesture and the remaining left hand holds a ritual dagger know as kila (phurba or phurbu in Tibetan). He wears a tiger skin loin cloth, a human skin and an elephant hide over his back and is adorned with snakes. His (4) legs normally tread on two victims.

His lower body may be a kila, topped with a makara (mythical creature) and decorated with snakes.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrakila, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrakila, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection.

Undated, Tibet, bronze with stone inlay, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Tibet, bronze with stone inlay, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

On the above, he is holding the kila in his main hands at heart level, above the head of the makara.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrakila and consort, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, photo by Christie's.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrakila and consort, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, photo by Christie’s.

On this Nepalese-style sculpture, Vajrakila holds a kila in his main hands at heart level, two vajras with his remaining right hands, a trident and a branch in the remaining left hands.  His consort, Dipta Chakra, holds a skull cup and a flaying knife and wears a bone apron.

12th-13th century, Tibet, copper alloy with pigment and stone inlay, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

15th century (originally labelled 12th-13th century), Tibet, copper alloy with pigment and stone inlay, private collection, item 90832 on Himalayan Art Resources.

This version shows him with a kila in his main hands, two vajras in the other right hands, a trident or flames and a staff with a skull and a vajra finial in the other left hands. She is wearing a leopard-skin loin cloth or dhoti.

16th century, Tibet, bronze with pigment and cold gold, at the Basel Museum

16th century, Tibet, bronze with pigment and cold gold, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland).

Here we see him with wings spread open, holding two vajras, a kila, a branch (of the arura/myrobalan tree?) and part of another attribute, possibly a trident.

Tibet, a rare Vajrakila and consort sculpture

16th century, Tibet, copper repoussé and wood, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

16th century, Tibet, copper repoussé and wood, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The deity is depicted with three wrathful faces, each with three eyes, six hands, four holding vajras and tridents, the other two embracing his consort, Dipta Chakra, and holding a three-blade knife or kila (phur.ba or phur.bu in Tibetan) at heart level. They have no legs, their upper bodies end in a kila shape decorated with six snakes and topped with a makara head. He has upward-going (flaming) orange hair and bushy eyebrows, and is adorned with skull crowns, a garland of 50 severed heads and some snakes. Her arms are extended out and she holds a skull cup and a flaying knife (or chopper).

Western Tibet, Vajrakila

13th-14th century, Western Tibet, Vajrakila, copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

13th-14th century, Western Tibet, Vajrakila, leaded brass and pigment, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Vajrakila, a semi-wrathful deity or Heruka, has three faces, each with three eyes and bared fangs, and six hands, two of them holding a knife with a triangular blade or kila (now missing) at heart level, the other right hands holding thunderbolts or vajras and the left ones holding tridents (now missing). He is adorned with snakes, a garland of 50 freshly severed heads, a tiger skin lower garment (held in place with a cloth belt in the West Tibetan fashion) and has wrathful deities in his headdress. He is standing on two corpses.