Often called Yamantaka, Vajrabhairava is a specific form of Yamantaka (the other two are Rakta Yamari and Krishna Yamari seen in recent posts).
Undated, Tibet, Vajrabhairava, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).The ekavira (solitary) form of Vajrabhairava with a row of seven angry heads and a large buffalo head at the centre, topped with another angry head and Manjushri’s, with 34 hands and 16 legs, adorned with the usual wrathful ornaments, holding a flaying knife and a skull cup in his main hands before his heart.
He stands with the right legs bent and the left one stretched, trampling on deities and animals.
On this item, cold gold has been applied to the face and orange pigment has been used to dye the hair, eyebrows, beard and moustache, giving him a very wrathful appearance.
Rarely seen in sculpture, the one-head, two-hand and two-leg form of Vajrabhairava holds a flaying knife and a skull cup, wears a five-skull crown, a garland of severed heads and the hide of an elephant across his back. He may stand on a prostrate bull, as above. The addition of Manjushri’s head on top of his is unusual.
Alternatively, the heads are stacked in three groups of three, with the buffalo head at the bottom and Manjushri’s at the top. The artist has used cold gold to highlight the wrathful ornaments and the attributes held by the deity.