Tibet, Achala – various forms (4)

12th-13th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, private collection, photo on Nagel Blue Achala may have a fierce yaksha appearance with wrathful ornaments…

Unlabelled (circa 15th century?, Tibet, Achala, gilt copper or copper alloy with turquoise) private collection, photo on HAR  

… or a human one (with a third eye) and princely accessories. He may be kneeling on one knee (often the left one in Tibet, the right one in Nepal), in which case there is no victim under him.

Unlabelled (Tibet probably, Achala, brass), private collection, photo on HAR 

Or he may be standing on Ganapati or on 2 victims. He normally bites his lower lip with his upper fangs, as can be clearly seen on this example. We will note the skimpy and tight-fitting tiger skin loin cloth (see the page on Wrathful Deities in the left hand side of this blog).

15th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, on Hardt (p. 41).The victims are not depicted here.

Undated, Tibet, Achala, metal with cold gold and pigment, at the American Museum of National History in New York (USA).

A singular Achala with the effigy of a buddha (likely to be Akshobhya) on top of his flaming hair, standing on two victims atop a 12th or 13th century-style lotus base, brandishing a sword in his right hand and holding a (missing) lasso slightly away from him, instead of before his heart as would be expected. He is adorned with snakes including a long one across his chest worn as a sacred cord.

16th century, Tibet, Achala and consort, stone, private collection, photo by Holly’s International.Chandamaharoshana Achala with one head and two hands, in which he holds a sword and a noose, half kneeling and half crouching, in embrace with his consort, who has both legs around his waist and holds a skull cup and a flaying knife. The above has a human appearance and wears princely accessories.

18th century, Tibet, Achala and Dveshavajri, copper alloy, collection of the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami (USA), photo on Bridgeman

This one has a  fierce yaksha appearance and is adorned with snakes. His consort wears bone ornaments.


Tibet, Mahakala – Shadbhuja (10)

12th-14th century, Tibet, Mahakala, black chlorite, private collection, photo on Aguttes , Arts d’Asie 11th December 2017.

A rare stone stele of Mahakala with six arms, standing with his legs apart, treading on Ganapati and holding a flaying knife and a skull cup in his main hands. There is a rosary of skulls in his top right hand and a lasso in his lower left hand, the upper right hand would have held a trident or a ritual staff, the lower right hand held a drum. This form of shadbhuja Mahakala has a blue body on paintings.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Mahakala, clay, private collection, photo on Aguttes as before.

An unusual clay example with Ganapati seated in an awkward position, facing the viewer and holding his right hand palm out. Mahakala stands in a fighting posture and has a ritual staff in his upper left hand.

17th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on  Navin Kumar .

A Chinese-style image of him standing straight, adorned with a celestial scarf with serpentine ends, dressed in a long lower garment made of two layers of fine cloth with a lacy edge, topped with a tiger skin knotted at the front.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Mahakala, bronze with pigments, Science Museum Group Collection (UK), photo here .

We get a clearer picture of four of the attributes here and we can see that the upper hands also hold an elephant hide stretched across his back and that he is adorned with a garland of severed heads, a five-skull crown and some jewellery. Ganapati holds a skull cup in his right hand.

18th century, Tibet, Shadbhuja Mahakala, gilt bronze with polychromy, private collection, photo on Tajan , Art d’Asie, 11th June 2018.

On this late Chinese-style work his tiger skin loin cloth is worn with the tail of the animal reaching the base (see the “tiger-skin loin cloth” subsection of the page on Wrathful Deities in the left-hand side of this blog).

Tibet, various hierarchs (2)

12th century or later, Tibet, Karmapa 1, Düsum Khyenpa, bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt .

A portrait of the first karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa, in full monastic attire, his right hand calling Earth to witness, the left hand held in the meditation gesture, his eyes inlaid with silver, his lips and the hem and seams of his garment inlaid with copper, in the style of 13th and 14th century Tibetan sculptures (defined as ‘Monastic Period’ works on Himalayan Art Resources) but with different body proportions, a larger lotus base with copper beading on the rim, and a plain hat. The same item is labelled ’14th century, Sino-Tibetan’ on Leclère .

16th-17th century, Tibet, Karmapa 1, Düsum Khyenpa, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.The same personage, his right hand doing the gesture of debate/teaching, the other supporting a (missing) book, dressed in silk garments with an embroidered border.

16th century, Tibet, karmapa, gilt metal with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo on  HAR  

A non-identified karmapa, wearing the traditional black lotus hat with a visvajra symbol at the front and a crescent moon-and-sun disc symbol above it (barely visible here).

16th century, Tibet, karmapa, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

A singular sculpture of a hierarch seated on a throne with both legs pendent, his feet placed on a lotus platform attached to the base, holding the stem of lotuses. The crescent moon-and-sun disc symbol is at the front of his hat, there may be a visvajra above.

Unlabelled (15th or 16th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with silver eyes and copper lips), Tsang province, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

A rare image of a hierarch with a large urna (the stone now missing), holding a long-life vase in his left hand. His lotus hat is decorated with a sun-and-moon symbol at the front and topped with a half-vajra finial.

Nepal, wrathful figures (2)

Circa 12th century, Nepal, Takkiraja, gilt copper, private collection, photo and details on Bonhams

This attendant with a friendly yaksha appearance holds a hook (elephant goad) in his right hand and his left hand does the gesture associated with holding a noose or a lasso. He wears princely jewellery and a lower garment decorated with a floral print.

Unlabelled (Nepal?, Malla period?, Black Jambhala, copper or copper alloy), private collection photo on HAR 

Black Jambhala, crushing the king of wealth with both feet and holding the usual skull cup and jewel-spitting mongoose. He is adorned with snakes, including one to tie his hair.

15th century, Nepal, Mahacakra Vajrapani and consort, gilt copper alloy with gemstones and paint, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

Vajrapani with a long snake in his mouth and two of his hands, the main ones embracing his consort, the top right hand wielding a vajra sceptre, the remaining hand doing a threatening gesture. She has a leg around his waist and holds a skull cup and a flaying knife. They tread on two Hindu deities. This form of Vajrapani normally has three heads, sometimes four, the above only has one.


16th century, Nepal, Mahakala, sandstone, private collection? photo on Artkhade 

Mahakala with one head and two hands, in which he holds a skull cup and a flaying knife. He squats on a large victim and wears a garland of severed heads. Unlike the standard panjarnata form, he has a ritual staff leaning against his left shoulder, not a danda stick. This appears to be specific to Nepal, see here and below.

Undated, Nepal, Panjarnata Mahakala, stone, private collection, photo on HAR   

The ritual staff is topped with ribbons, three skulls, a half vajra sceptre.

Tibet, crowned buddha (5)

9th century (or later?), Kashmir (Kashmir school in Western Tibet?), Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo on  Hardt .

A rare sculpture of a standing crowned buddha, almost identical to a 12th century sculpture from Western Tibet, published by Christie’s and seen in a previous post. He stands on a Kashmiri-style stepped pedestal decorated with a singular row of lotus petals and an incised motif at the front. Other features that differ from Kashmiri standards are the large wide-open eyes, the shape of the rosettes on each side of the crown and the hem, with large beading and jewel pendants instead of tassels, on the three-pointed neckline of his garment.

Tibet, Avalokiteshara – standing (16)

A new page called “The Guge style and related works” has been published as a subsection of the “Comparing Works” page, in the left hand side of this blog, including the first image in this post.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, Guge, Avalokiteshvara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo on Hardt

The metal sculptures made by Kashmiri artists for the Guge kingdom during the 11th and 12th century display the usual athletic chest, narrow waist, cruciform navel, silver-inlaid eyes so characteristic of Kashmiri art, combined with a series of unique features…

such as the large and full face with small fleshy lips and a marked chin, the garland of flowers …

… the richly and deeply incised dhoti, shorter on one side, the prominent knee caps. The above has an effigy of Amitabha at the front of his crown, an antelope skin over his left shoulder, a long-stemmed lotus in his left hand, no armlets. His right hand does the fear-allaying gesture.

12th century, Tibet, (Avalokiteshvara) Padmapani, bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt

Avalokiteshvara with the right hand doing the gesture of supreme generosity

12th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt

With his left hand doing a gesture to bestow refuge.

12th-13th century, Tibet, (Avalokiteshvara) Padmapani, bronze, private collection, photo by Koller.

This brass sculpture, probably made in Western Tibet, depicts him with a small water pot in his right hand and an effigy of Amitabha at the base of his chignon.

13th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt

The treatment of the eyes on this dark bronze is reminiscent of Swat Valley works, and so is the fan-shaped hairstyle.

13th century, Tibet or Ladakh, Avalokiteshvara, bronze on a modern base, private collection, photo by Michael Backman

This one, on the other hand, is very similar to an 11th-12th century padmapani attributed to Ladakh by Koller seen here

17th-18th century, Tibet, (Avalokiteshvara) Padmapani, gilt bronze, photo on VAN HAM.

The design of the lotus in Avalokiteshvara’s left hand, the shape of his body and the colour of the gilding are the same as on various early Nepalese sculptures seen in previous posts.

18th century, Tibet, (Avalokiteshvara) Padmapani, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Hardt

This figure with a doll-like body has a large Kirtimukha on the front of his crown, just like a silver Maitreya seen here


Tibet, Maitreya (6)

12th-13th century, Tibet or Nepal, Maitreya, brass with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo on VAN HAM

Maitreya, holding a water pot in the palm of his left hand and the stem of a blue lotus in the other, his eyes inlaid with silver, the festoons of his belt, his armlets and sacred cord made of silver beading, his lips inlaid with copper. His stupa-shaped chignon is topped with a lotus bud finial.

15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, bronze with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo on Hardt

Probably made in a Tsang province atelier, this sculpture depicts him seated in the vajra position, his hands turning the wheel of dharma symbolically and holding the stem of lotuses, one of them supporting a ritual water pot.  He has a stupa in his headdress.

His eyes are inlaid with silver and copper, his jewellery with lapis lazuli and turquoise cabochons.

15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper with stone inlay, private collection?, photo on GG-ART

16th-17th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt bronze with cold gold, stones and pigment, private collection, photo by Van Ham as before, sale 17th December 2017.

With no stupa or kundika, Maitreya is identified by the position of his hands.

15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy with stone and glass inlay, private collection, photo by Koller, sale A189AS.

Seated with his legs pendent, the feet placed on a lotus attached to the throne.