Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (6)

16th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, Inner, stone, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

On rare occasions Yama Dharmaraja, protector of the buddhist faith, has a human head or a yaksha head, as on this remarkable stone stele. In his inner form he is always alone, has a blue-black body, stands with one leg bent (usually the left one) and the other straight, holds a flaying knife away from him in his right hand and a skull cup before his heart in the other.

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (labelled ‘Yamantaka’), gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Millon (see below).

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze, photo on 1stdibs

Often confused with Sahaja Vajrabhairava, the outer form of Yama Dharmaraja (also with a buffalo head and ithyphallic) stands on a prostrate male buffalo crushing a female victim, with both arms stretched. In all his forms, this dharmapala wears a three-skull or five-skull crown, a chain with a dharma wheel plate, bone ornaments, and may have a garland of severed heads round his neck.

16th or 17th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, bronze (copper alloy), at the museum of ethnology in Hamburg (Germany), photo on VCAM  

In his outer form, with his consort and twin sister, he brandishes a skull-tipped mace or a club in his right hand and holds a lasso in the other, Yami holds a skull cup and a trident. On this relatively early example (most Himalayan sculptures of this deity are late Chinese-style works) he has a human face with three eyes, and the female victim is under their feet on the buffalo’s back.

Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (5)

Undated, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt metal with pigment, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Sanjay Kapoor Inc  here .

18th c., Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja+Yami, gilt bronze+turq., 17,5 cm, Yami missing, maas in Sydney

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney (Australia) maas

In his ‘outer form’ Yama Dharmaraja stretches his arms out, brandishing a club tipped with a skull and a lasso (missing here). He stands on a male buffalo crushing a female victim and is adorned with bone jewellery, a cross belt with a wheel at the front and a three or five-skull crown.

Undated, Tibet, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Bonhams

On this fairly recent example we can see the stick with a vajra handle and a skull at the tip.

16th century, Tibet (or China?), Yama Dharmaraja, clay (or metal?), at the National Gallery in Prague (Czech Republic).Yama Dharmaraja with Yami, his sister and consort.

Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (4)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (or Vajrabhairava?), copper alloy and pigments, private collection, photo on Lempertz

Always without consort, the inner form of Yama Dharmaraja stands on a prostrate male buffalo (usually crushing a male victim) and holds a flaying knife and a skull cup, the latter always held before his heart. (This may also be a form of Vajrabhairava, Yama normally has the right arm stretched out).

16th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (or Vajrabhairava?), bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, stones (missing), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This rare sculpture shows him with his head topped with Manjushri’s (of which he is an emanation) itself topped with a jewel. (Again, this could be a form of Vajrabhairava, also related to Manjushri).

17th-18th c., Tibet, Yama+2 companions, bronze+paint, 21 cm, Hermitage

17th-18th century, Tibet (or China?), Yama and attendants, bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

 

He may have a human head and be depicted with buffalo-headed attendants who stand on a prostrate bull, as he usually does. In this instance one of them wields a mace and holds a lasso, like his outer from, the other holds different attributes, possibly a skull cup and a jewel, like his secret form. They all wear a tiara with five skulls, the attendants have a garland of skulls around their neck, he has a garland of severed heads. 

18th c. cir., Tibet, Yama dharmaraja, wood+traces polychromy, 16,8 cm, ithyphallic, Sotheby's

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, wood with traces of polychromy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Cold gold has been used here to paint Yama Dharmaraja’s facial features and accessories and to highlight his ithyphallic nature.

18th c., Tibet, Yama dharmaraja, gilt bronze, 13,7 cm, bone trumpet, Sotheby's

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The outer form of Yama holds both arms straight and has a skull-tipped mace or stick in his right hand and a lasso in the other. He stands on a buffalo who usually crushes a female victim. He is supposed to be with Yami, his sister and consort, but she is often missing, or lost, along with the male buffalo on which they stand. According to Sotheby’s, the above holds a bone trumpet.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

 

Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (3)

15th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Yama, gilt copper alloy with pigments, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

Wrathful deities made by Tibetan artists for a Chinese patron often include heavy beaded jewellery with ornate festoons and pendants and matching accessories covering most of the subject’s body – concealing his ithyphallic nature. This photo is the wrong way round (see correct way round here), the right hand is almost level with or much higher than the left one.

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Rob Michiels.

When the sculpture is complete, Yama normally stands on a male buffalo over a victim lying on a lotus pedestal.

Apart from bone jewellery and accessories he wears a garland of severed heads. His skull crown may have three instead of five skulls.

18th century, Tibet (or Mongolia), Yama, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this rare sculpture the buffalo, victim and pedestal are made of dark copper alloy, with traces of red pigment. On the Himalayan Art Resources website, this photo is labelled ‘Mongolia’. This would explain the polychromy and the hairstyle (slanting sideways).

18th century, Tibet, Yama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonham’s.

He may wield a skull-tipped club or stick in his right hand and have a lasso in the other, his hand doing the corresponding wrathful gesture.

Known as karana mudra the gesture consists in the little finger and the forefinger being erect while the tip of the middle finger presses the tip of the thumb.

18th century, Tibet, Yama, solid gold, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

 

Tibet, Yama and Yami (2)

17th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, wood, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

Yama Dharmaraja is depicted with his twin sister and consort, Yami (also known as Chamundi or Chamunda), much smaller than him and clinging to his left side. She holds a skull cup in her left hand and possibly a trident in the other, he holds a skull-tipped club and a lasso. They stand on a male buffalo crushing a figure with a human appearance.

17th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, copper, private collection.

It is unusual for her to stand on the lotus base, behind the buffalo. When they are  together, he normally holds a club or stick tipped with a skull (the above has a vajra handle and a vajra tip) and a lasso. He may wear a five-skull crown but in most cases only three skulls are showing (see below).

17th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, metal, at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (USA).

Here she faces Yama and turns her back to the viewer.

17th century, Tibet, Yama+Yami, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, published on http://www.artkhade.com.

On this late Pala revival base there is no victim or buffalo under their feet.

 

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Yama and Yami, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Made by a Tibetan artist for a Chinese patron, this item portrays a clearly ithyphallic Yama, whose consort is much larger than usual and has long red hair down her back. Their attributes are missing.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Yama and Yami, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Yami may wear an antelope skin around her waist.

Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (2)

16th c., Tibet, Yama (dharmaraja), wood, 13 cm, Astamangala

16th century, Tibet, Yama, wood, private collection, photo by Astamangala.

In Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja has a buffalo head with flaming hair, two hands, two legs. Most sculptures show him standing on a prostrate male buffalo and holding a lasso while the right hand holds a bone stick tipped with a skull (or a head in this case).

16th century, Tibet, Yama, metal, at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

He is adorned with a skull crown, bone ornaments, a garland of severed heads.

17th century, Tibet, possibly Yama, bronze with cold gold and pigments, made by Chöying Dorje, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

In early Indian and Nepalese art, wrathful deities often have a dwarfish/human appearance. This is perhaps what prompted the tenth karmapa to make this sculpture of a pot-bellied deity with a childish face and orange hair, adorned with snakes and carrying a bone stick tipped with a skull.

17th century, Tibet, Yama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Kapoor gallery on http://www.asianart.com

On this powerful image, Yama also holds a bone stick tipped with a skull, the other attribute is missing. He stands on a buffalo crushing a man’s chest with its front legs. The animal wears a festooned body adornment with raining jewel pendants.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Yama, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, published on http://www.auctionata.com

A similar image, without gilding or pigments.

17th century, Tibet, Yama, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources. See here

This is a rare depiction of Yama riding the buffalo and using a human victim as a saddle,  a human hide thrown over his back and a tiger skin worn as a loin cloth. The image would have been part of a Medicine Buddha set, in which Yama with a human face rides a buffalo and holds a skull-tipped staff.

18th c., Tibet, Yama dharmaraja, c.a., 17,8 cm, skull crown, 3 eyes, Sotheby's

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

 

Same as before, labelled Yamantaka, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On later sculptures his adornments usually include a cross belt with a wheel of the law at the centre.

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonham’s.

18th century, Tibet, Yama, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

His buffalo head has three eyes and a furling tongue.

Tibet, Yama and Yami

17th century, Tibet, Yama, copper alloy, private collection.

17th century, Tibet, Yama, copper alloy, private collection.

Yama, of hindu origin, is represented here as a buddhist protector, holding a lasso in his left hand and a skull-tipped stick in his right hand. With a buffalo head, adorned with a five-skull crown, bone jewellery, a cross belt, a garland of fifty severed heads, a tiger skin dhoti, he stands on a buffalo kneeling on a victim. Next to him is his twin sister and consort Yami, also known as Chamundi or Chamunda, always depicted at a much smaller scale than him.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, gilt copper alloy, photo by Bonhams.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, gilt copper alloy, photo by Bonhams.

The above sculpture shows Yami wearing what Bonhams describe as the skin of an antelope. In Northern India there is a temple devoted to  Chamunda with votive offerings shaped like the horns of wild goats or deer.

18th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, gilt copper alloy, stones, pigment, photo by Christie's.

18th century, Tibet, Yama and Yami, gilt copper alloy, stones, pigment, photo by Christie’s.

On this more modern version, she stands with both feet on the bull