Tibet, unidentified wrathful deities (3)

13th century, Tibet, unidentified, copper alloy with pigment, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This masterpiece depicts a wrathful deity with three heads, six hands and four legs, clad in a tiger skin, adorned with snakes, a garland of skulls and a skull crown. jewellery and a thin celestial scarf, an elephant hide over his back.

He holds a skull cup and a vajra sceptre (instead of a flaying knife) in his main hands…

An arrow, a human corpse, a drum and possibly a vajra-noose in the others.

He stands on two victims, possibly Kalaratri and Bhairava.

There is a form of Yamantaka (Krishna Yamari) with three heads and six hands  who holds various attributes including a human corpse (impaled on a tree, on paintings), a noose and a vajra sceptre but he normally has two legs and one of his attributes is a sword.

15th century, Tibet, unidentified, brass, is or was at the Potala in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This rare item depicts a 17-head deity (four stacks of four heads plus one head on top, all of them with three eyes), in embrace with his consort who only has one head. It is not clear how many arms they each have. We have seen several examples of a rare form of namasangiti Manjushri with two hands held above his head, but they all have only one head, twelve hands and no consort.

17th century, Tibet, heruka, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.This  wrathful meditational deity is depicted with his consort, who holds a long-life vase in her left hand. Their other attributes are now missing.

 

 

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Tibet, unidentified wrathful deities (2)

16th century, Tibet, unidentified, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel.

This character, possibly an attendant, has a semi-wrathful aspect and both hands doing a symbolic gesture.

He is adorned with princely jewellery and a five-leaf crown inlaid with stones (many missing).

18th century, Tibet, tantric deity, gilt copper, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (USA).

This very wrathful character riding a horse has one head and four arms. He wears a long coat and boots, a five-skull crown with flowing ribbons, large round earrings, a garland of severed heads. His hair is gathered in a large bun tied with a snake and topped with a flaming finial.

18th century, Tibet, wrathful deity, bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This could be one of several deities and only the missing attributes would give us his identity. He wears the usual wrathful ornaments (snakes and bone accessories, garland of severed heads, tiger skin dhoti, five-skull crown) and has a human hide and the skin of an animal over his back.

Undated (circa 19th century), Tibet, gilt metal, at the American Museum of National History.

Modern sculptures (19th century onwards) are only included in this blog when they are of particular relevance or interest. Out of a set of animal-headed deities, this is the only one with three human heads, each with three eyes. He has six hands, in which he holds various attributes (snake, noose, book, stem?). His red hair is gathered in a tall chignon that seems to be adorned with a multitude of small skulls or heads.

 

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.