15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
Wrathful Vajrapani normally has flaming hair arranged in a mitre-like shape and often dyed red.
The above wears an elaborate skull crown and has a half vajra finial on top of his hair. He is adorned with the 8 snake ornaments (2 bracelets, 2 armbands, 2 anklets, a necklace and a sacred cord). He also wears a Chinese-style cross belt and billowing scarf.
15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.
The artist has shaped this Vajrapani’s eyebrows like snakes and given him sharp facial features. He wears large floral earrings and matching bracelets, armbands, anklets and necklace, a long beaded necklace and a sacred cord – no snake ornaments or tiger skin.
Undated (15th-16th century?), Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy and pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
In his most common form, wrathful Vajrapani holds a vajra high up in his right hand and does the tarjani (or the karana) mudra with the left. His snake ornaments are sometimes mixed with princely jewellery (especially from the 15th century onwards).
The above has an Indian-style tiara (front panel missing) with large bows and rosettes on each side, serpentine earrings, a long snake worn as a sacred cord, incised curly eyebrows, a thin moustache over his well-formed lips and a curly beard below his chin, a row of neat curls below the rim of his crown and raised flaming hair fastened with a snake and arranged into scalloped layers. His wrathful yet benign, almost friendly expression is typical of Tibetan works.
16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy and pigment, Shelley and Donald Rubin’s collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
The deity occasionally has a bell in his right hand while doing the karana mudra.
This one also has a five-leaf crown with a wire that links the panels to protect them in a decorative way. There is a scarf attached to his back that shows under his right arm and next to his left hip.