Tibet, Bhurkumkuta (2)

14th century, Tibet, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

Bhurkumkuta, with three heads topped with a vajra finial and six hands, holds a double thunderbolt sceptre (visvajra) in his upper right hand. His other attributes vary. The above has an upturned vajra-handled bell in his lower left hand.

Undated (15th century circa?), Tibet probably, gilt metal with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Like most wrathful deities, he wears a tiger-skin dhoti and snake ornaments, complemented here with turquoise inlaid foliate jewellery. Standard attributes may be a visvajra, a vajra, a hook, a stick and a lasso. This one holds the visvajra and a vajra-handled bell (ghanta) in his upper hands, an 8-spoke wheel and a missing object in the middle ones, a stick (or perhaps a pestle) and a lasso in the lower ones.

Undated (18th century circa), Tibet, Bhurkumkuta, private collection, same as before.

 

Tibet, Pehar

An emanation of the five dhyani buddha, the reincarnation of a demon subdued by Padmasambhava and turned into the main guardian deity of the Samye monastery, a dharmapala, an oracle used by the fifth Dalai Lama, this prominent deity is mainly seen on paintings. On a mandala he is placed at the centre and represents activity while another four deities, with different functions, titles and names, occupy the four cardinal points. In sculpture, the name Pehar tends to be given to any of these five aspects and also, mistakenly, to the three-head and six-hand form of Dorje Legpa, who also rides a lion but holds different attributes.

18th century, Tibet, Pehar, gilt copper alloy, at the National Gallery in Prague.

Pehar has three faces and six hands, in which he holds the following attributes: a knife and an iron hook in his upper hands, a bow and an arrow in his middle hands, a stick and a sword in his lower hands (no mention of a thunderbolt sceptre as on the above Chinese-style sculpture). Some authors describe him as wearing a leopard skin over his shoulders and a tiger skin loin cloth, while other sources mention a silk upper garment and a human skin, bone ornaments and jewellery, a garland of severed heads and a cane hat. He rides a white snow lion with a green mane.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese (made by a Tibetan artist for a Chinese patron), gilt bronze (copper alloy), source not quoted, published on fromacafe.blogspot.com.es

There are few metal sculptures of him and most of them are late and were made for Chinese worshippers. The above has a tiger skin around his waist, the paws of the animal are dangling at the front. He is adorned with a garland of freshly severed human heads and stone inlaid jewellery. His upper hands hold a flayed human skin over his silk top.

Same as before, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Undated, Tibet?, Pehar, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Another two examples of  him holding a thunderbolt sceptre in one hand.

Undated, Tibeto-Chinese, Pehar, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

 

A very angry deity

17th-18th century, Tibet, labelled dharmapala, bronze and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie's.

17th-18th century, Tibet, labelled dharmapala, bronze and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This unidentified male deity with a wrathful appearance has one head with three eyes and erect flaming hair, two legs in a dancing posture, four arms in which only one attribute remains. He wears a tiger skin dhoti and wrathful ornaments ( a five-skull crown with Chinese-style serpentine ribbons, a garland of severed heads, bone jewellery with rosettes). There are nine male dharmapalas, Begtse Chen, who always wears a coat of mail; Dorje Legpa, who always rides a goat, a lion or a camel; Hayagriva who has the head of a horse on top of his; Rahula whose body is half human and half serpent; Tsang dKarpo, who rides a horse and is dressed in armour; Vaishravana, who always dresses in Mongolian armour; Yama Dharmaraja, who has a buffalo head; Yamantaka, whose Yamari form has a human face but the one-head form only has two hands; Mahakala is the only one who may have one head and four arms, but in Tibet his four-hand form is normally seated and, besides, he always has bulging eyes (and short fat legs). This may not be a dharmapala, at any rate it is a very angry deity!

Tibet, Black Manjushri

16th century, Tibet, Black Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

16th century, Tibet, Black Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

There are very few Tibetan sculptures of this wrathful aspect of Manjushri, identified through the manuscript he holds in his left hand together with the sword held above his head. This example is adorned with a five-skull tiara, a garland of 50 severed heads, jewellery, a Chinese-style cross belt. He wears a tiger skin dhoti knotted at the front. His face has three eyes and bared fangs. His flaming hair is tied into a bunch.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Black Manjushri, copper alloy, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

17th-18th century, Tibet, Black Manjushri, copper alloy, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

This more recent work depicts him half kneeling, wearing a bone apron and a billowing scarf that forms a kind of halo behind his head, adorned with large round floral earrings and five-leaf crown, his chignon topped with a half vajra.

Tibet, Dorje Legpa (2)

18th century, Tibet, Dorje Legpa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

18th century, Tibet, Dorje Legpa, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Dharma protector Dorje Legpa, also known as Damcan, (Vajra Sadhu in sanskrit) rides a Tibetan billy goat with crossed horn, holding a vajra in his right hand and, normally, a human heart in the other. The above is dressed in full garments and cloak adorned with an incised motif, boots, a celestial scarf and his usual hat.

Undated (18th century circa), Tibet, Dorje Legpa, metal, at the American Museum of National History (USA).

Undated (18th century circa), Tibet, Dorje Legpa, metal, at the American Museum of Natural History (USA).

He may also ride a snow lion.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Dorje Legpa, gilt c.a., at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

This sculpture depicts him in his 3-head and six-arm version, riding a snow lion. In his right hands he holds a stick, (missing) arrow and a vajra sword, in his left hands he holds a vajra knife (with a vajra handle), a bow and a (missing) vajra pike.

18th century circa, Tibet, Narwa Garbo, gilt copper alloy, private collection, Christie's.

18th century circa, Tibet, Garwa Nagpo, gilt copper alloy, private collection, Christie’s.

Dorje Legpa’s attendant, Garwa Nagpo holds in his right hand a vajra hammer (said to be made of meteorite iron according to the Himalayan Art Resources website) and, in his left hand, some bellows (supposed to be made of tiger skin). On this sculpture, his mount is crossing an ocean of blood.

18th-19th century, Dorje Legpa, gilt copper alloy, at the Ashmolean Museum.

18th-19th century, Dorje Legpa, gilt copper alloy, as above.

The attributes are missing from this figure, but he rides a Tibetan goat with entwined horns and holds his hands as if to hold a vajra and a heart, like Dorje Legpa.

Dorje Ta'og, Tibet, undated (18th century circa), copper alloy, at the AMNH.

Dorje Ta’og, Tibet, undated (18th century circa), copper alloy, at the AMNH.

This character could easily be mistaken for Dorje Legpa but for the fact that he rides a horse.  He wields a (missing) vajra in his right hand and holds a small object in the other. Dorje Ta’og is mainly associated with the Sera monastery and sculptures of him are rarely seen.

 

Tibet, Yaksha generals (2)

16th century, Tibet, Yaksha general (labelled Kubera), brass with stone and coral inlay, at the Pacific Asia Museum (USA)

16th century, Tibet, Yaksha general (labelled Kubera), brass with copper, stone and coral inlay, at the Pacific Asia Museum (USA).

The sword in a sheath in his right hand, in conjunction with the mongoose on the other side, identifies this figure as one of the twelve Yaksha generals. Seated on a cloth over a throne decorated with lions, he wears elegant silk garments and scarf, a five-leaf crown and some jewellery. His mongoose disgorges jewels. Unlike other sculptures on the same theme, he is  youthful, without facial hair, and not very pot-bellied.

17th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

17th century, Tibet, Yaksha general (labelled Kubera), gilt copper alloy, same as before.

It is not clear what this one holds in his right hand but it isn’t any of the attributes associated with Kubera (money bag,  pomegranate or mace) or Yellow Jambhala (citron).

18th-19th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This one, on the other hand, clearly holds the sheath of a (missing) sword. He wears a floral crown with rosettes and serpentine ribbons, beaded jewellery, a long dhoti with  embroidered cuffs, a celestial scarf with one end tucked under the sash that goes across his chest. He sits on a ‘modern’ single-lotus base over a couple of cushions.

18th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

18th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

This general holds his right hand in the karana mudra and may have held a vajra or a noose.

Tibet, Yaksha generals

The 12 Yaksha generals (also known as heavenly or divine generals) are protectors who accompany the buddha of medicine Bhaisajyaguru and his retinue. Each of them holds a mongoose in the left hand and an object in the other (vajra, sword, stick, trident, axe, lass, wheel). Several of them hold the same object (on paintings their body is a different colour to distinguish them). They are normally seated, their short legs loosely gathered before them. They wear a crown, some jewellery, a silk scarf, and a silk dhoti (which helps differentiate them from the lokapala Vaishravana, who wears a full armour).

15th-16th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The above is seated on a single-lotus base over a richly decorated cushion. He holds what should be a dharma wheel but has been labelled as ‘coral’. His mongoose is spitting a jewel.

15th-16th c., Tibet, Yaksha general, holds coral+mongoose, 14,2 cm, detail

He has a semi-wrathful face with bushy eyebrows and a goatee. On paintings his body is red.

Undated (15th-16th century?), same as before, private collection in Paris, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated (15th-16th century?), same as before, parisian museum collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This one has a lasso in his right hand. On paintings his body is yellow.

15th-16th c?, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt c.a., inscrip. in Tibetan, holds staff, part of a set, private on HAR

15th-16th c?, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt c.a., inscrip. in Tibetan, holds staff+mongoose, private on HAR

These are two of the four generals who hold a stick. Their jewel-spitting mongoose is in a different position, the second one has a goatee and wears a sash across his chest.

Same as before.

Same as before.

This is one of two who hold a sword.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

18th-19th century, Tibet, Yaksha general, gilt copper alloy, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

The above has been labelled “Kubera” but in fact, apart from not being a character of the Tibetan pantheon, Kubera holds either a pomegranate, a mace or a bag of money in his hand. This Yaksha holds a vajra. On paintings his body would be yellow.