Tibet, Vajradhaka (3)

Vajradaka, Tibet, 17th c., bronze with c. inlay

Undated, Tibet, brass with copper inlay (third eye), private collection. This is the top part of the incense burner, representing Vajradaka/Vajradhaka in a squatting position with a thunderbolt or vajra and a vajra-handled bell crossed over his heart. He is adorned with a five-skull crown attached with ribbons large lotus-design earrings and bone jewellery.

18th century, Tibet, Vajradhaka, gilt copper alloy, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

Classified as 18th century, Tibet, Vajradhaka, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

This one is wearing a Chinese-style cross belt and a garland of severed human heads.

Undated, Tibet, Vajradhaka, silver,

Undated, Tibet, Vajradhaka, silver, on Himalayan Art Resources.

This silver figure has a leopard skin  wrapped around his waist


Tibet, Vajradhaka (2)

16th century circa, Vajradhaka, Tibet, bronze, photo by Christie's.

Circa 16th ,Vajradhaka, Tibet, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Vajradhaka/Vajradaka is always depicted with a thunderbolt or vajra and a bell, usually crossed over his heart. He has one head  adorned with a skull crown, three eyes, a gaping mouth, and always looks up (to let the smoke out). He may be standing, sitting or squatting. The base is often missing but the above sculpture  is complete with its hollow base designed to burn black sesame seeds for rituals. He wears a garland of fifty freshly severed heads, a cross belt, a tiger skin loin cloth and bone ornaments. He stands on a circular platform, the rim engraved with vajras, over a receptacle (the burner) decorated with a vajra and supported by a square plinth with a crescent moon topped with a vajra finial at each corner.

17th century, Tibet, Vajradhaka, bronze, private collection

17th century, Tibet, Vajradhaka, bronze, private collection, on arcimboldo.cz

17th c., Tibet, Vajradaka, c.a., arcimboldo, back


17th century, Tibet, Vajradhaka, brass, private collection.

17th century, Tibet, Vajradhaka, brass, Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

Vajradaka, Tibet, 17th c., brass, rearview

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Vajradhaka,

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Vajradhaka, copper alloy, photo by Bonhams.

On this sculpture his celestial scarf and the ribbons of his crown are going upwards in a snake-like design of Chinese influence.

Tibet, three 18th c. Vajradhaka sculptures

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, at the San Diego Museum of Art.

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, at the San Diego Museum of Art published by Himalayan Art Resources.

Vajradaka, an emanation of buddha Akshobhya, wears a tiger skin and holds a thunderbolt and bell crossed over his chest. He has three eyes and an open mouth with four fangs. Sometimes standing, usually squatting, adorned with a garland of freshly severed heads, a skull crown, bone jewellery and a celestial scarf, this meditational deity is related to fire rituals for purification and the sculptures are usually the upper part of something similar to an incense burner. The lower part, in the form of a tripod or a hollow base, is often missing. Black sesame seeds are burnt inside and the smoke comes out of the gaping mouth.

Vajradaka, Tibeto-chinese, 18th c., copper alloy, 13 cm, Sotheby's

18th century, Tibet, Chinese artist, copper alloy, private collection.

Vajradaka, Tibet, 18th c., bronze, traces of gilding, 28 cm

18th century, Tibet, dark bronze with traces of gilding, Rubin Museum of Art.