Tibet, Wrathful Vajrapani (14)

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 736 China 4.

Chanda Vajrapani, brandishing a vajra sceptre in his right hand and doing a threatening gesture with the other while holding a (missing) lasso, adorned partly with snakes and partly with princely accessories including a five-leaf crown.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze (brass), private collection, on Christie’s

14th century, Tibet (or later copy?), Vajrapani, gilt bronze with cold gold and pigment, private collection?, photo on GG-ART

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, published in ‘The Buddhist Deity Vajrapani’ by Gouriswar Bhattacharya on Academia.eduThis one wears a tripartite crown with a large floral design and wide bows, bulky jewellery, a sacred cord, small snakes around his wrists and ankles.

16th century, Tibet, Canda Vajrapani, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Shirley Day Ltd, same publication as before.

The author of the article points out that on this image Vajrapani has one foot on a snake and the other on a human victim. Also, the long snake used as a sacred thread goes over his right shoulder (on early works it is usually over the left shoulder but on the first picture and on the next one it is also worn over the right shoulder). Among his princely jewellery we will note the cross-belt with a central flower and ‘raining-jewel’ pendants.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy and pigments, photo by Capriaquar on Academia Edu .

18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani (labelled Mahakala), bronze with traces of lacquer and pigment, private collection, photo by Beaussant-Lefèvre, Arts d’Asie 2016.

Late Tibetan sculptures of wrathful deities are often in the Chinese style, with a much fiercer look, bushy eyebrows, pointed fingers and toes, sharp flaming hair, a flat scarf with serpentine ends, and the tail of the tiger skin dangling at the front.

13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze, private collection, photo on Eddie’s Auction

Wrathful Vajrapani with a tripartite hair bunch – see the new page in the ‘comparing works’ section of this blog in the left-hand margin-  and a bell in his left hand.

18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy with pigment), private collection, photo on Artcurial .

Vajrapani with an upturned bell in his left hand, crushing a single victim with a human appearance.


Yellow Jambhala with wheel

16th century, Tibet, Jambhala (labelled ‘Kubera’), gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Drouot .

One of a series of Nepalese-style images of peaceful Jambhala, a mongoose in his left hand and a citron in the other, seated at ease, youthful and pot-bellied, his eyes wide open, a row of thick curls arranged neatly on his forehead, adorned with princely jewellery and coiffed with a low tiara with two small gem-like components and a large central wheel of dharma. Unfortunately on all of them the base (and possibly the backplate) is missing.

Himalayan Region, Yellow Jambhala, photo on HAR  

He wears small hoops, a short necklace with three round pendants, matching armlets, bracelets and anklets, and has a sacred cord across his chest, either beaded or plain.

Unlabelled, Jambhala, at the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland), photo on HAR .

This one has no anklets and no wheel in his headdress but we may assume that he once did. Except for the distinctive tiara, all 3 are very similar to a brass figure of Jambhala seen in a previous post and reproduced below for comparison:

14th century, Nepal, Yellow Jambhala (labelled Kubera), brass, private collection, photo by Galerie Petillon.

Undated, Ming, Jambhala, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Golden State Auction Gallery.

This is a different version (presumably made in China), unusually ithyphallic, with no belly button, larger hoops, an oval face, long strands of hair over his shoulder and a long beaded necklace instead of a sacred cord.

18th century, Tibet, Jambhala, bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt Curiously, this late Chinese-style statue of an elderly Jambhala with a moustache and beard and a five-leaf crown includes a wheel on his topknot.

Tibet, Yellow Jambhala (18)

16th-17th century, Tibet, Jambhala (labelled ‘Kubera’), wood, private collection, photo on Drouot.

Yellow Jambhala, an emanation of buddha Ratnasambhava, has a peaceful yaksha appearance and is nearly always seated, holding a jewel-spitting mongoose in his left hand and a citron or a gem-shaped fruit in the other at knee level. The above wears a celestial scarf and cross-belt.

17th century, Tibet, Jambhala (labelled ‘Kubera’), bronze, stones and plinth renovated, private collection, photo on Gazette Drouot as before.

He sometimes has a pot of gems against his right arm and his right foot usually rests on a pot of gem welded to the base.

17th century, Tibet, Jambhala (labelled ‘Kubera’), bronze (brass), private collection, photo on Drouot .

An example with an incised geometrical motif around the plinth and on his garment.

18th century or earlier, Tibet or Nepal, Jambhala, gilt bronze with turquoise (and glass), private collection, photo on  Gazette Drouot.

We have seen quite a few sculptures of him sitting on a lotus atop an openwork base supported by vases of abundance.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Jambhala, gilt bronze with turquoise and coral inlay, private collection?, photo on GG-ART .

On this masterpiece with Chinese-style features, such as the shape of his topknot and the fat lotus petals with a curly tip, the mongoose is vividly and realistically rendered.

Tibet, Achala – various forms (4)

12th-13th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, private collection, photo on Nagel Blue Achala may have a fierce yaksha appearance with wrathful ornaments…

Unlabelled (circa 15th century?, Tibet, Achala, gilt copper or copper alloy with turquoise) private collection, photo on HAR  

… or a human one (with a third eye) and princely accessories. He may be kneeling on one knee (often the left one in Tibet, the right one in Nepal), in which case there is no victim under him.

Unlabelled (Tibet probably, Achala, brass), private collection, photo on HAR 

Or he may be standing on Ganapati or on 2 victims. He normally bites his lower lip with his upper fangs, as can be clearly seen on this example. We will note the skimpy and tight-fitting tiger skin loin cloth (see the page on Wrathful Deities in the left hand side of this blog).

15th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, on Hardt (p. 41).The victims are not depicted here.

Undated, Tibet, Achala, metal with cold gold and pigment, at the American Museum of National History in New York (USA).

A singular Achala with the effigy of a buddha (likely to be Akshobhya) on top of his flaming hair, standing on two victims atop a 12th or 13th century-style lotus base, brandishing a sword in his right hand and holding a (missing) lasso slightly away from him, instead of before his heart as would be expected. He is adorned with snakes including a long one across his chest worn as a sacred cord.

16th century, Tibet, Achala and consort, stone, private collection, photo by Holly’s International.Chandamaharoshana Achala with one head and two hands, in which he holds a sword and a noose, half kneeling and half crouching, in embrace with his consort, who has both legs around his waist and holds a skull cup and a flaying knife. The above has a human appearance and wears princely accessories.

18th century, Tibet, Achala and Dveshavajri, copper alloy, collection of the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami (USA), photo on Bridgeman

This one has a  fierce yaksha appearance and is adorned with snakes. His consort wears bone ornaments.

Tibet, Samvara – heruka (2)

16th century, Tibet, Chakrasamvara, gilt metal (with turquoise inlay), collection of Dzamtang Tsangwa Monastery, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Samvara in his Sahaja Heruka form, with one head and two hands, standing on two victims, embracing his consort and holding a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell, his hair tied and topped with a wish-granting jewel. He is adorned with a five-skull crown and bone jewellery. Vajrayogini holds a flaying knife and a skull cup and is adorned with a skull crown, a garland of skulls and a bone apron with raining-jewel pendants. She has both legs around his waist, following the Luipa tradition.

16th century, Tibet, Samvara, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s .

In most cases Vajrayogini stands with her left leg stretched across the pedestal and her right leg around Samvara’s waist.

18th century, Tibet, Chakrasamvara (labelled ‘Vajradhara’), gilt bronze with stones, private collection, photo by Beaussant Lefèvre.

On this work, including two additional characters on the pedestal, the two of them have both feet on the lotus base.

Undated, Tibet, Chakrasamvara, (copper or copper alloy), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources 

In his heruka form, alone, holding his usual attributes plus a ritual staff against his left shoulder.

Tibet, Mahakala – Shadbhuja (10)

12th-14th century, Tibet, Mahakala, black chlorite, private collection, photo on Aguttes , Arts d’Asie 11th December 2017.

A rare stone stele of Mahakala with six arms, standing with his legs apart, treading on Ganapati and holding a flaying knife and a skull cup in his main hands. There is a rosary of skulls in his top right hand and a lasso in his lower left hand, the upper right hand would have held a trident or a ritual staff, the lower right hand held a drum. This form of shadbhuja Mahakala has a blue body on paintings.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Mahakala, clay, private collection, photo on Aguttes as before.

An unusual clay example with Ganapati seated in an awkward position, facing the viewer and holding his right hand palm out. Mahakala stands in a fighting posture and has a ritual staff in his upper left hand.

17th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on  Navin Kumar .

A Chinese-style image of him standing straight, adorned with a celestial scarf with serpentine ends, dressed in a long lower garment made of two layers of fine cloth with a lacy edge, topped with a tiger skin knotted at the front.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Mahakala, bronze with pigments, Science Museum Group Collection (UK), photo here .

We get a clearer picture of four of the attributes here and we can see that the upper hands also hold an elephant hide stretched across his back and that he is adorned with a garland of severed heads, a five-skull crown and some jewellery. Ganapati holds a skull cup in his right hand.

18th century, Tibet, Shadbhuja Mahakala, gilt bronze with polychromy, private collection, photo on Tajan , Art d’Asie, 11th June 2018.

On this late Chinese-style work his tiger skin loin cloth is worn with the tail of the animal reaching the base (see the “tiger-skin loin cloth” subsection of the page on Wrathful Deities in the left-hand side of this blog).

Tibet, wrathful Vajrapani – various forms (4)

18th century, Tibet, Mahacakra Vajrapani (labelled ‘Mahakala), gilt bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on JJ-Mathias

Mahacakra Vajrapani without his consort, with three heads, six hands and two legs, wielding a vajra sceptre in his top right hand and holding a sword in the lower left one. His middle hands clutch a (missing) long snake that would also have been held in his mouth. This form of the deity is adorned with a princely crown and matching jewellery, no garland of severed heads, and usually treads on two victims atop a lotus base, missing here. The style of this sculpture recalls another seen recently here, especially the design of the three-leaf crown.

Undated, Tibet or Nepal, Vajrapani, black stone, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Vajrapani with one head and three eyes, his upper fangs biting his lower lip; two hands, one of them brandishing his attribute and the other pressing a vajra bell against his hip; two legs, standing on two vicitms. Usually referred to as nilamba or nilambhara, this form of Vajrapani wears no skull crown or garland of severed heads but may have a garuda on top of his head. This one is surrounded by garudas adorning the flaming arch behind him. He is adorned with a floral crown and matching jewellery.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise inlay, private collection?, photo on gg-art

A similar depiction but with the left hand doing a threatening gesture associated with a noose or a lasso (missing here). This form, known as chanda Vajrapani, normally stands on a bed of snakes.

16th century, Tibet or Nepal, (Chanda) Vajrapani, stone, private collection, photo on Hardt

16th-17th century, Tibet, (Chanda) Vajrapani, black schist and paint, private collection, photo on The Emporium

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke.

In his chanda form, with a skull crown and a garland of severed heads around his neck. It is unusual for him to hold the lasso without doing a threatening gesture, either with the forefinger erect or with the forefinger and the ring finger erect.

16th century, Tibet (or Tibetan style in China?), Vajrapani, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Helios .