Early Guge style and related works

1) STANDING FIGURES WITH A FLORAL GARLAND

10th century, Western Tibet, Guge, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, Asia Society collection.

The garland made of individually crafted flowers is specific to an early group of standing figures, most of them created by Kashmiri artists for Guge patrons. Their body shape and proportions are realistic and include the typically Kashmiri cruciform navel and lobed abdomen. Their prominent knee caps recall the earlier rock-carved statues of Maitreya at Mulbeck and Kartse Khar in Ladakh (See here)

10th-11th century, Western Tibet, brass with silver, gold and turquoise inlay, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

They all wear a dhoti much shorter on the left side, with a pointed end dropping towards the pedestal on the opposite side. The garment is normally engraved with a floral and vine motif and held in place with a belt, which may consist in one or several rows of beading and an ornate belt or a strip of cloth knotted at the front.

Undated (11th-12th century?), Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The armlets usually consist in one or more rows of pearls, with three jewelled pendants dangling below or a single decorative element above.

10th-11th century, Western Tibet, Guge Kingdom, brass with copper and silver inlay, Pritzker collection.

Following the Kashmiri tradition, the eyes are inlaid with silver, and the lips may be made of copper, but metal inlay may also be used to colour the lower garment. The tall crescent moon and floral sections of the crown are topped with a jewel and secured with rods.

11th century, Western Tibet, Guge Kingdom, Avalokiteshvara, made in Ngari by a Kashmiri artist called Mati, copper alloy with tin, cold gold and pigments, at the Freer Sackler Gallery (USA).

For this remarkable work the artist used tin rather than copper.

11th century, Western tibet, Guge, Avalokiteshvara, brass, commissioned by Rinchen Zangpo for a monastery near Tholing and made by a Kashmiri artist called Bhidaka, published by Dr Amy Heller (see the relevant post).

A mixture of three different metals seems to have been used for this dhoti, silver, copper, and possibly niello. Avalokiteshvara wears a Ladakhi-style tripartite crown.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Guge, Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Hardt Auctions.

The following are derived from the Guge style but noticeably different in some aspects.

11th century circa, Western Tibet, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Avalokiteshvara with a large head, probably cast separately, and typically Tibetan facial features, larges nipples, big toes set wide apart, and a garland made of very large flowers.

10th century, Western Tibet, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

With a floral garland but a plain dhoti, no crown and no necklace, a full face and tripartite hairbunch.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Vajrapani, brass with silver inlay, at Musée Guimet in Paris (France).

With odd facial features and unrealistic body shape and proportions, adorned with beaded hoops rather than floral earrings.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, brass, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (USA).

With a Ladakhi-style crown, a strangled waist, and a bulky garland.

2) STANDING FIGURES WITH A FOLIATE GARLAND

10th-11th century, Western Tibet or  Ladakh, Avalokiteshvara, brass with silver inlay, at Musée Guimet (Paris)

The standard Kashmiri garland, made of braided leaves resembling a continuous sheaf of grain, is more common in Western Tibet and often goes with a different style of accessories.

12th century circa, Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The crown may be lower and simpler, consisting in three triangular shapes. The armlets are more often of the beaded type with a singular decorative element above, but not exclusively.

10th-11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s

Undated, Western Tibet, Maitreya, brass, with silver, copper and turquoise inlay, item 66731 on Himalayan Art Resources.

A rare Maitreya with a stupa on his head and a foliate garland made of copper.

11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

11th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Unlabelled (circa 12th century, Western Tibet, Guge style, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with turquoise inlay), private collection, photo on HAR .

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Occasionally there is a flower at the bottom of the foliate garland. On the second picture, the bodhisattva wears beaded hoops.

Labelled ’12th-14th century, Western Himalayas, Vajrapani, bronze’ (copper alloy), at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, published on wikipedia.commons.

3) STANDING FIGURES WITH A BEADED GARLAND

11th century,  Tibet, Guge, (Avalokiteshvara) Padmapani, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Hanhai auction.

This bodhisattva wears a garland made of three rows of beads.

His crown has a crescent moon and triangular leaf design, with jewelled pendants dangling over his forehead.

His dhoti is decorated with bands of embroidered fabric and held in place with a thin belt knotted in a particularly ornate manner at the front.