Tibet, various paired deities (3)

15th century, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja, gilt metal (copper alloy) with turquoise and glass replacement, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

One of the four forms of Guhyasamaja, Akshobhyavajra has three semi-wrathful faces, six hands and two legs. He has a bodhisattva appearance and sits in embrace with his consort, Mamaki, holding a vajra sceptre and a bell across her back in his main hands, a faceted jewel, a wheel, a lotus and a sword in the remaining hands. She has the same morphology and holds the same attributes.

14th-15th century, Tibet, unidentified (labelled ‘Mahakala yab-yum), gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Lempertz

This may be Chakrasamvara in his sahaja heruka form, in which case he holds a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell across Vajravarahi’s back, who holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

17th century, Tibet, unidentified (labelled ‘Chakrasamvara’), copper alloy, private collection, photo on  Aguttes .

This figure, on the other hand, brandishes a vajra bell in his right hand and holds a skull cup in the other, which is an unusual combination.

18th century, Tibet, deity, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 105 China 1.

And this one wields a flaying knife in his right hand and holds a skull cup in the other, like the sahaja heruka form of Kalachakra, who has one head and two hands. His consort has both legs around his waist and probably holds the same implements.

18th century, Tibet, Kalachakra, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Daguerre 

A Chinese-style sculpture of Kalachakra in his four-head and twenty-four arms form, treading on Hindu deities Kamadeva and Rudra. His main hands embrace his consort, the others hold wrathful and peaceful implements, most of them now lost. A visvajra and a crescent moon adorn his double topknot as usual. Vishvamata, also known as Kalachakri, is depicted here with one head and two arms. She may have four heads and up to eight arms.

Tibet, various paired deities (2)

15th century, Tibet, Yogambara, gilt metal with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

A singular sculpture of Yogambara, with three heads and six hands, seated in embrace with his consort atop a snow lion. He holds a bow and an arrow in his top hands, a vajra sceptre and a bell in his main hands crossed behind her back, the lower left hand sustains a skull cup, the remaining hand caresses Jnanadakini’s breast.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mahamaya and Buddha Dakini, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams, auction 24777.

Mahamaya, a male meditational deity who embodies a tantric text, may have one head and two hands (in which case he is usually in embrace with his consort) or four heads and four hands (in which case he is usually alone). This sculpture depicts him in the second form but with Buddha Dakini. He holds a bow and an arrow, a skull cup and a ritual staff. She has the same morphology and holds the same attributes.

15th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 16245.

15th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Gu Tian Yi Auctions on HAR .

Akshobhyavajra seated in embrace with Mamaki, both with three heads and six hands, adorned with princely jewellery and holding the usual attributes: a vajra sceptre and bell in the main hands, a wheel, a jewel, a lotus and a sword in the others. On  the second image there is a small buddha finial on his chignon.

18th century (or earlier?), Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, private collection, pba auctions.

 

Tibet, Guhyasamaja – Akshobhyavajra (4)

Late 17th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, gilt bronze (with turquoise inlay, cold gold and pigments), private collection, photo on Cambi Casa d’Aste

The three-head and six-hand deity, always seated in embrace with his consort, Mamaki, holding a vajra sceptre and bell in his main hands crossed over her back, a wheel and a sword in his lower hands, a faceted jewel and a lotus in his upper hands, his chignon topped with a flaming jewel. Their faces are painted with cold gold and pigments.

She also has three heads and six hands and normally holds the same attributes although on this occasion she seems to be holding lotuses instead of the faceted jewel.

17th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Polyauction

15th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, gilt metal with turquoise inlay (and cold gold, pigments, coral and lapis lazuli), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources https://www.himalayanart.org/items/8050.

On this earlier work the wheel (which looks like a flower) is inlaid with turquoise and coral, the other attributes are surrounded with a flame. He often has a third eye, clearly visible here.

16th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, gilt bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on Nagel

His earrings are usually flower-shaped wheels, sometimes studded with turquoise at the centre as above, or plain as below, or with inlaid with turquoise cabochons, as on the previous item.

15th century, Tibet, Guhyasamaja, Akshobhyavajra, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on Christie’s

 

Tibet, Kalachakra and Vishvamata (2)

 

14th c., Tibet, Kalachakra, gilt cop.+pig.+stones+cor., 60 cm, 1300-50, Zhalu Mon., Shigatse, 9230+31943+49445 har, Huntington archive

14th century, Tibet, Kalachakra, gilt copper with stones and pigment, is or was at a monastery in Shigatse (Tibet), photo from the Huntington Archive.

Sculptures of Kalachakra normally depict him with four heads with hair tied together and decorated with a visvajra and a crescent moon, and 24 hands, in which he holds various attributes. This meditational deity is always in union with his consort, Vishvamata. They often tread on two victims with four arms each, holding various attributes and accompanied by two kneeling female figures.

14th c., Tibet, Kalachakra, gilt cop.+pig.+stones+cor., 60 cm, 1300-50, Zhalu Mon., Shigatse, detail, 9230+31943+49445 har, Huntington archive.jpg

Following the Newari fashion, the deities are adorned with princely accessories inlaid with small stone and coral cabochons, including raining jewel pendants at the extremities of their celestial scarves. Even the rim of the double lotus base is decorated with turquoise, lapis lazuli and coral.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Kalachakra, gilt copper alloy with stones and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

His consort, also known as Kalachakri or Kalichakra, may have one or four heads and two to eight arms.

17th century, Tibet, Kalachakra, gilt copper alloy and gems, private collection, photo from the Werner Forman Archive.

The attributes he usually holds are a vajra sceptre, a sword, a trident, a flaying knife, a flaming arrow, a hook, a drum, a hammer, a wheel, a spear, a stick, a battle axe, a bell, a shield, a ritual staff, a skull cup, a bow, a lasso, a jewel, a lotus, a conch shell, a mirror, a chain and Brahma’s head with four faces.

15th century, Tibet, Kalachakra, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources, item 30025.

 

Tibet, Guhyasamaja – Akshobhyavajra (3)

Undated (15th or 16th century?), Tibet, Guhyasamaja, Akshobhyavajra, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Akshobhyavajra, a meditational deity with three heads and six arms, sits in embrace with his consort, who also has three heads and six arms.

Same as before.

They hold the same attributes: a wheel, a vajra sceptre, a sword, a bell,  a lotus and a jewel, and are bedecked with bodhisattva jewellery and crowns.

16th century, Tibet, Guhyasamaja, Akshobhyavajra, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

His chignon is usually adorned with a flaming jewel and may have a small effigy of a buddha, barely perceptible behind the crown (in this case one holding a triple gem according to Nagel).

16th century, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra (labelled Kalachakra), gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The Akshobhyavajra form of Guhyasamaja and his consort always hold a vajra sceptre and a bell in their main hands, his are crossed behind her back, hers are behind his neck. The order of the remaining attributes varies. Here is holds a dharma wheel decorated with turquoise cabochon in his lower right hand and a lotus flower in the next one up. His left hands hold a sword and a flaming triple gem (triratna).

16th-17 century, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s

The vajra sceptre they hold is the symbol of Akshobhya, the wheel is the symbol of Vairocana, the lotus represents Amitabha, the jewel is the symbol of Ratnasambhava and the sword is associated with Amoghasiddhi.

14th century, Tibet, possibly Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja (classed as a retinue figure on the Himalayan Art Resources website), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This three-headed figure is alone and holds a wheel and a bell in the main hands, a lotus  and a vajra sceptre in the remaining right hands, a sword and a flaming jewel in the other left hands. He is seated on a single lotus atop a cut-out throne supported by two lions and decorated with a vase containing scrolling vegetation.

16th century, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja retinue figure? (labelled Amoghasiddhi), gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel.

A similar character, holding a sword and a bell in the main hands, a wheel and a flaming jewel in the upper hands, a vajra sceptre and a lotus flower in the lower hands. seated on a single lotus over a throne decorated with studded leaves, an embossed visvajra (associated with Amoghasiddhi and a few more deities), foliage and thick beading, the plinth finely incised with a floral motif.

This single figure also has the effigy of a buddha behind his crown.

 

 

Tibet, Guhyasamaja – Akshobhyavajra (2)

Akshobhyavajra, the most common form of Guhyasamaja in sculpture, is always seated in embrace with his consort.

14th century, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja, gilt metal and stone inlay, Densatil style, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources, item 32089.

He has three heads with three eyes (sometimes two), his hair is gathered in a chignon topped with a finial, usually a flaming jewel. He is adorned with princely accessories (crown and  jewellery). Although sculptures often show him with a peaceful countenance, written sources describe him as having a frown and baring his fangs.

15th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavajra) Guhyasamaja, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Augeo Gallery.

In his six hands he holds various attributes including a wheel (cakra) and a sword, the main hands clutch a vajra sceptre and a bell while embracing the consort. The other two attributes are a lotus and a jewel.

She has three heads and six hands and holds the same attributes as him.

Undated, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja, gilt metal and turquoise inlay, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

15th century, Tibet, (Akshobhyavjra) Guhyasamaja, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Daniel Wamba.

On paintings, his five-leaf crown has an effigy of a wisdom buddha on each leaf. On Nepalese-style gilt sculptures, there is a Kirtimukha design on the front panel (as on bodhisattva crowns).

15th century, Tibet, Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja, gilt copper, private collection?, published on pinterest, no source or photo credits quoted.

The above has a half vajra finial. Their hair has been dyed with blue pigment (probably lapiz lazuli powder)  and their faces are painted with cold gold and pigments. Their lower garment is incised with a floral design.

15th century, Tibet, Akshobhyavjra Guhyasamaja, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

 

Tibet, various paired deities

Shri Heruka, 15th-16th c., Tibet, Chemchok H.+consort, bronze +cold g., 15,7 cm, 3 heads 6 arms 4 legs, wings, skull cups+vajras, Lempertz

15th-16th century, Tibet, Chemchok Heruka with consort, bronze (copper alloy) and cold gold, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

Chemchok Heruka is the Tibetan name for a form of Shri Heruka with three heads and six hands, 4 legs and 2 wings. He embraces his consort (who has one head, two arms and two legs) and holds a vajra sceptre in each right hand, a skull cup in each left hand (on paintings he may have different attributes). The faces are painted with cold gold and the hair and eyebrows with red pigment. They are adorned with crowns and princely jewellery inlaid with turquoise. They stand on two victims.

17th-18th century, Tibet, unidentified, (labelled Hevajra), gilt bronze with pigment, private collection, photo on Galerie Zacke

In Himalayan art there are various deities with wings known as herukas, most of them with three heads and six arms, usually depicted with a consort. Then there are deities such as Samvara and Hevajra who are not herukas but have an heruka form with one head and two arms, but no wings. The above has one head and two hands, in which he holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

14th century, Tibet, Densatil or Densatil-style, Buddhakapala and Citrasena, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This meditational deity may be alone or with a consort. He has one head with three eyes, four hands, two legs. She has one head, two hands, two legs, one of them around his waist, and is naked. He wears the wrathful ornaments, including a five-skull crown and a garland of 50 severed heads, and holds a skull cup and a flaying knife in his main hands crossed over her back, a drum and a ritual staff in the remaining ones.

14th century, Tibet, Buddhakapala and consort, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

They each stand on a leg over a victim.

She holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

Buddhakapala (+citrasena), Tibet, 17th-18th c., lab. buddakepala, bronze+paint, 22 cm, Hermitage

17th-18th century, Tibet, Buddhakapala? (labelled Buddakepala), bronze with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Each with one head, three eyes, two hands, the couple stands in a dancing pose, one foot on a victim. She is naked and holds a flaying knife and a skull cup. Buddhakapala normally has four arms, the main hands holding a flaying knife and a skull cup, the upper arms holding a drum and a staff. The above holds a vajra sceptre and a skull cup. He wears the flayed skin of a human over his back.

18th century, Tibet, Chitipati, painted terracotta, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Apart from the dancing skeletons seen on bone aprons used for the Cham dance, there is another pair of dancing skeleton known as Chitipati (Shri Shmashana Adhipati in sanskrit). This ‘father and mother’ pair have a frightful skeletal form, with three eyes and protruding fangs. They stand in a dancing posture, are adorned with a skull crown and hold a skull cup and a skull-tipped stick. In some cases, she holds a long-life vase and a stalk of grain on a stick, as above. She wears a garland of skull and he wears a garland of freshly severed heads, as is often the case with paired deities with a wrathful appearance.

17th-18th c., Tibet or Him., Citipati or Kinkara, gilt bronze, 73.8 cm, dhoti+breastplate+necklace, rect. base, HK Sotheby's

17th-18th century, Tibet or Himalayas, Citipati or Kinkara, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

For the sake of comparison, this dancing skeleton is unlikely to be part of a Chitipati set since he is alone. Besides, he only has two eyes, isn’t adorned with wrathful ornaments, and his left hand doesn’t seem to have held any attribute. He wears an interesting cape with a cloud pattern, of the sort we have seen on Padmasambhava sculptures from more or less the same period.