Western Himalayas, various bodhisattvas (2)

Circa 11th century, Western Himalayas? (labelled ‘Kashmir’), Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips, cold gold, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 105 China 1.

A mixed-style statue of Avalokiteshvara, lotus in hand, an antelope skin over his left shoulder and the effigy of Amitabha at the front of his crown. He has the well-developed torso typical of Kashmiri works but not the characteristic cruciform navel. Other noteworthy features are the Ladakhi-style earrings and crown, the scallop-shape hair bunch and the way his celestial scarf flows upwards on one side and downwards on the other (something we saw once on a 9th-10th century brass sculpture from Kashmir). His right hand does the gesture of supreme generosity.

Unlabelled (Western Himalayas?), Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection), photo on Himalayan Art Resources

A fairly similar image with Kashmiri-style body proportions, athletic torso and cruciform navel. The wide-open eyes and square urna (both inlaid with silver), squarish jaw, strong chin and chubby cheeks depart from Kashmiri standards. He wears a long Indian-style stripy dhoti with a stippled motif, a beaded sacred cord and matching belt. He holds a rosary in his right hand.

Circa 10th-11th century, Western Himalayas, Manjushri (labelled ‘Padmapani’), bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, auction 101 China 1.

This character, who stands in an awkward position, holds a blue lotus topped with a manuscript, which identifies him as Manjushri. He has a very large raised urna on his forehead and matching nipples and is adorned with a single foliate hair ornament, a foliate garland and a belt with a chased geometrical motif, no jewellery.

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Western Himalayas, various deities (2)

11th c., K. or W. Him., Avalokiteshvara, bronze, 23,3 cm, double prabhamandala, high jatamukata, 12967 har, Sotheby's

11th century, Kashmir or Western Himalayas, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s

Despite the stupa at the top of the arch and the teaching gesture of his right hand associated with Maitreya, the (rather bent) effigy of Amitabha in his headdress identifies this bodhisattva as Avalokiteshvara. The dark copper alloy, the absence of silver inlay for the eyes and the shape of the lotus petals on the base differ from traditional Kashmiri art (Sotheby’s suggest Ladakh as a possible place of origin).

11th century, Kashmir or Western Himalayas, Vajrasattva, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo on Koller

A rare example of the four-hand form of this buddha, with a bow and arrow in his upper hands, a vajra sceptre and bell in the others, an effigy of a buddha on each panel of his tripartite crown, a long garland that passes under rather than over his legs (as often seen in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh), seated on a single lotus atop a throne supported by two lions and a yaksha, an open-work flaming arch behind him, adorned with two different earrings, one of them a lotus bud.

11th c., Kashmir (style), Avalokiteshvara, bronze+sil., 13,5 cm, bulbous petals, 2 lotuses, Amitabha in hair, antelope skin, Hollywood Galleries

11th century, Kashmir (or Kashmiri style in Tibet?), Avalokiteshvara, bronze (brass) with silver inlay, private collection, photo Hollywood Galleries

This bodhisattva has Kashmiri-style facial features, coiffure, floral earrings, body proportions, cruciform navel, and flowing scarf with incised folds, a long dhoti with a stippled lotus pattern occasionally seen in Kashmiri art, but the fleshy toes held widely apart and the shape of the petals on the waisted lotus base are not representative of Kashmiri art, while the antelope skin with incised dots and the very big lotuses on each side of him correspond to the Tibetan taste.

11th century, Himachal Pradesh or Western Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Pundoles

 

Western Himalayas, various bodhisattvas

13th century, Western Himalayas, Vajrapani, brass, is or was at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Standing on a stepped plinth derived from a Kashmiri design, Vajrapani holds a thunderbolt sceptre horizontally in his right hand, the other is placed on his hip. He wears a dhoti shorter on one side and has large knee caps as in Western Tibet. His eyes are slit horizontally in the style of Himachal Pradesh. The nimbus is incised with flames, the rest of the back plate is plain.

13th-14th century, Western Himalayas, Vajrapani, brass, private collection, on Himalayan Art Resources.

Another mixed-style Vajrapani, with a coiffure very similar to that of an Himachal Pradesh Avalokiteshvara seen in a previous post. He wears a long garland and a short dhoti decorated with a stippled motif between stripes. The  flaming arch is topped with a finial.

12th century circa, Western Himalayas, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The character at the centre of this Pala-style triad is Manjushri, easy to identify through his sword and his blue lotus topped with a manuscript (the Prajnaparamita sutra). His attendants (smaller in size) are Vajrapani, who holds an upright vajra in his right hand and has his left hand against his hip, and, on the other side, Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani form, who holds a lotus as usual but also a water pot in the Gandharan fashion.

Undated, Kashmir or Western Himalayas, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

 

Western Himalayas, various deities

11th c. cir., W. Him., Kurukulla, 22,5 cm, Kashmiri tunic, bow, arrow, noose, vajra, varada, vajra, arrow?, Sotheby's

11th century circa, Western Himalayas, Kurukulla, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This is a rare example of Kurukulla with three heads and six hands (she normally has one head and 2, 4 or 8 hands), seated on a lotus supported by wrathful characters, dressed in a Kashmiri tunic with a crescent moon lower hem that  offsets her cruciform navel. She wears a Himachal Pradesh-style scarf and a crown with triangular panels typical of Ladakh. She holds a bow and an arrow in her upper hands, a vajra and a noose in the middle ones. Her lower right hand displays the gesture of supreme generosity, the lower right hand may have held a hook o the stem of a lotus.

The arch behind her is engraved with U-shaped flames often seen on back plates attributed to Jammu and Kashmir.

14th century, Himalayan, Yellow Jambhala and consort, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Metal sculptures of Yellow Jambhala with his consort are also rarely seen. The above has three heads and six hands, in his right ones he holds an arrow, a hook (elephant goad) and a citron. On the other side there is another fruit, a (broken) bow and the hand which holds the consort also holds a mongoose disgorging jewels.

Traditionally he has a lasso in one hand instead of two citrons. She holds a small vessel and a ritual pot. His crown and hair band are decorated with incisions typical of Western Tibet.

15th century, Western Himalayas, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Koller.

This brassy sculpture depicts the bodhisattva  with Tibetan facial features, floral crown and jewellery, wearing a Chinese-style lower garment and shawl with serpentine ends, seated on a thick cushion over a lotus base with a single row of unusual petals resembling the footprints of a deer, the upper and lower rim without beading. The shape and proportions of the back plate are typical of earlier works from Kashmir, while the cut out foliage on the inner row shows an influence from Nepal. The treatment of the flames is singular.

Western Himalayas, Manjushri

10th-11th century, labelled Himachal Pradesh or Western Tibet or Kashmir, Manjushri, copper alloy, at the Newark Museum.

Seated on a double-lotus base with heart-shaped petals, Manjushri brandishes a sword above his head and holds a lotus at heart level in his other hand. He  wears  a small tiara with rosettes and bows, large floral earrings, beaded accessories and a celestial scarf.

The back of the work is as interesting as the front. His hair is pleated into three long strands fastened together at the top, a hairstyle proper to this bodhisattva. He wears a long striped dhoti (often seen on Indian works) and a sacred thread. His celestial scarf is thin and pleated except for the ends which open up like flowers (in the Himachal Pradesh fashion)

10th-11th century, labelled Kashmir or Western Tibet or Himachal Pradesh, copper alloy, same as before.

The same figure, seated on a large lotus with ‘artichoke leaves’ (Kashmir and Swat Valley influence), holding a flaming sword incised with a large circular motif in the Ngari (Western Tibet) style, wearing the same style of scarf, a long striped dhoti, a crown with three triangular panels (associated with Ladakh and Western Tibet), his  left hand holding the stem of a blue lotus (utpala).

11th century, labelled Kashmir style in Western Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This  mixed styles figure has silver-inlaid eyes and urna, copper-inlaid lips and nipples.

The body proportions, the ‘strangled’ double lotus base and the back plate are associated with Kashmiri art but the punched navel is typical of Indian works while the crown and the colour of copper alloy look Tibetan .

His sword is tipped with a vajra.

Western Himalayas, various buddhas

It is sometimes impossible to know in which part of the Himalayas a given metal sculpture was made because it includes features from different areas and because a given style from a particular area was sometimes imitated by artists from another area. ‘Western Himalayas’ generally refers to Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and other parts of Northern India close to Tibet, and parts of Pakistán.

9th-10th century, Western Himalayas, Kashmir style, Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This rare piece depicts the historical buddha with his right hand in the gesture of generosity and the other holding a piece of his robe, a devotee (possibly the donor) at his feet. The shape of the face and hair and the addition of a devotee on the base correspond to the Kashmiri tradition but not so the dark alloy with silver inlaid-eyes (normally associated with Pakistan/The Swat Valley) or the broad hips and the folds of the robe.

10th-11th century, Western Himalayas, Kashmiri style, Vajrasattva, brass, at the Newark Museum (USA).

Standing on a Kashmiri-style pedestal complete with flaming mandorla, Vajrasattva holds his thunderbolt sceptre in the right hand and the bell in the other, against his hip. His hair is tied in fan-shaped bunch in the Pakistani manner while his pleated celestial scarf with broad ends recalls works from Himachal Pradesh. We saw a similar dhoti and belt on a 10th-11th century brass sculpture from Kashmir, yet the figure lacks the characteristics associated with that region, such as developed pectorals, muscly legs and harmonious body proportions.

10th-11th century, Western Himalayas, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This is another rare and interesting image of Shakyamuni, dressed in a transparent robe, his right hand doing the fear-allaying gesture, standing on lotus over a plain plinth.

His hair locks are engraved rather than raised, and the hem of his robe is decorated with an embossed rather than an incised pattern. There are traces of cold gold on the face.

11th century, Northern India or Western Tibet, Shakyamuni, metal (copper or copper alloy), at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

On the whole this masterpiece displays Kashmiri features such as the shape of the face, the body proportions, the folds of the robe. However, the heavy eyelids, the fancy collar and the chignon are not typical of that region.

Western Himalayas, Avalokiteshvara – standing

Same as above or Western Himalayas, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

10th century, Western Tibet or Western Himalayas, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This sculpture, complete with its flaming mandorla, single-lotus base and Kashmiri-style plinth, depicts Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, his right hand doing the fear-allaying gesture, his left hand holding the stem of a lotus.

10th c., Western Tibet or W. Him., Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, brass, antelope skin close up

He wears a three-leaf crown with large bows, unusual bulky earrings, a necklace with a small pendant, an antelope skin knotted across his chest. His right hand does the abhaya mudra, the other holds the stem of an eight-petal lotus flower. He has stippled nipples, a thin waist and a hole punch into the abdomen to mark the navel.

 

10th c., Western Tibet or W. Him., Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, brass, dhoti

His short lower garment is decorated with a stippled pattern and held in place with a kind of sash or cloth belt that hangs at the front.

Same as above.

Same as above.

This is a strikingly ressemblant image, but for the shape of the flaming mandorla. It may have originally stood on a similar plinth. The single row of flat pointed lotus petals on the pedestal strongly recalls works from Himachal Pradesh, where Tibetan buddhism was established during the 8th century.

11th c., Western Tibet or W. Him., Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, close up

There is a large effigy of Amitabha in his crown and an antelope skin over his left shoulder (knotted across his chest). He wears a three-tooth pendant usually associated with Manjushri.

10th-11th century, Kashmir or Himachal Pradesh or Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, private collection.

10th-11th century, Himachal Pradesh or Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, private collection.

This other example also has a large effigy of Amitabha in his crown and the stem of an eight-petal lotus in his left hand. The mandorla is topped with a floral finial and flying banners.

11th century, possibly Himachal Pradesh, Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, at the Rubin Museum of Art.

11th century,  labelled ‘Northern India’, Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, at the Rubin Museum of Art.

Standing on a similar lotus base and plinth, Avalokiteshvara wears a very short dhoti which is the same length on both sides, a feature proper to Ladakh. It reveals tubular legs, and a celestial scarf with broad pointed ends, the former associated with Western Tibet or Ladakh, the latter with Himachal Pradesh.

11th c., Himachal Pradesh?, Padmapani, lotus

There is an effigy of Amitabha in his crown and an antelope skin over his shoulder. The facial features and the celestial scarf recall works from Himachal Pradesh, as does the shape of the lotus petals on the pedestal.

Undated, Western Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

11th century, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, copper alloy and silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Published in a previous post as “Western Tibet”, this figure has been published by an auction house as “11th century, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh” ( a former Tibetan kingdom). The bodhisattva wears large floral earrings and a tripartite crown with an effigy of Amitabha at the front, decorated with bows and rosettes and held in place with a band with a rectangular motif in the middle,  typical of Western Tibet and Ladakh.

11thc., Himachal Pradesh, Spiti Valley, Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, c.a.+sil. eyes ,close up

It is worth noting the very thin silver-inlaid eyes and the way in which the artist has blended the contour of the (generous) nose with the eyebrows, the way the antelope skin is tied with the hooves crossed over, his wavy celestial scarf with broad flat ends, all atypical of Western Tibet. However, Himachal Pradesh figures normally have an ankle-length dhoti. The back panel or the pedestal would have been useful to identify the place of origin with certainty.