Tibet, Green Tara (23)

12th century, Tibet, Tara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo on Hardt

Green Tara, flanked by open lotuses, seated on a tall Pala-style lotus base, her right leg pendent, the foot placed on a large lotus stemming from below the lotus seat, her right hand in the gesture of generosity, the left hand bestowing refuge. Her long dhoti is decorated with a stippled lotus motif and there is a flaming jewel on her chignon.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Woolley & Wallis, 22nd May 2018 lot 43.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, sale AU835 lot 33.

Two sculptures with the left hand in the gesture of debate (vitarka mudra), normally associated with the white form of Tara.

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo on Bonhams  .

Green Tara with a day/open lotus and a night/closed lotus, her hair gathered in a top knot adorned with a half-vajra finial, the seams on her stripy dhoti made of copper and silver beading. When her right hand is held down palm out, her left hand normally does the gesture to bestow refute, sometimes the gesture to ward off evil. The above does the fear-allaying gesture.

15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo on Millon.

18th century, Tibet, Tara, silver with turquoise inlay and cold gold, gilt copper alloy base, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s 

A Mongolian-style silver figure seated on a gilt lotus base, her dhoti and sash richly incised with a floral and vine pattern, her two-tier hair bun topped with a flaming jewel.

Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – standing (17)

11th or 12th century, Western Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – Padmapani, brass, private collection, photo by on jstor  

Avalokiteshvara in his ‘lotus bearer’ form, with an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress and an antelope skin on his left shoulder, dressed in a richly incised dhoti and adorned with a crown made of three triangular leaves, princely jewellery and a foliate garland typical of early Guge-style works.

Circa 13th century, Western Tibet, Guge, Padmapani (Avalokiteshvara), bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, 1997.

Another type of crown is the tall Kashmiri-style crown, made of crescent-shaped lotus shoots supporting a floral or foliate ornament.  (see “COMPARING WORKS” > The Early Guge style and related works in the left margin of this blog).

12th century, Tibet, Lokeshvara, bronze, private collection, photo on Hardt , 23rd November 2019.

This padmapani with a thin waist and disproportionate torso holds two open lotuses in his left hand. He is adorned with Nepalese-style serpentine armbands and a sash knotted on the left, no antelope skin or buddha effigy.

12th century, Tibet, Lokeshvara, bronze with silver eyes, private collection, photo by Hardt as before, close up here.

A completely different style, reminiscent of early dwarf attendant figures leaning towards the deity they accompany. His left hand does a gesture to bestow patience, normally associated with a rosary, the right hand is not doing any particular gesture, which is unusual. The effigy of Amitabha at the front of his tall crown identifies him as Avalokiteshvara/Lokeshvara.

16th-17th century, Tibet , (Avalokiteshvara) Padmapani, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie 11th June 2009 lot 271, Paris.

16th-17th century, Tibet , (Avalokiteshvara) Padmapani, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie 11th June 2009 lot 271, Paris.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, polychrome wood, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s  .

Pala India, a few yaksha figures (2)

11th-12th century, India, Jambhala (labelled ‘Kubera’), bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie 10th June 2015, lot 168.

Yellow Jambhala is seated with his right leg pendent, the foot placed on a vase filled with jewels, on a  lotus base decorated with unusually thick beading and four groups of three jewels below the lotus seat. As usual he holds a gem-shaped citron in his right hand and a mongoose in the other, and wears a tight-fitting lower garment, a scarf, princely jewellery and a lotus bud knop. 

11th-12th century, Eastern India, Jambhala, stone, private collection, photo by Koller, sale A191AS lot 376.

The same form of Jambhala, seated on a large pot with a lid, atop a lotus seat with scrolling vines and buds below. He grips a small fruit with his right hand while holding a mongoose that disgorges pearls. There are two celestial beings (apsaras) at the top.

12th century, Northeast India, Kubera, copper alloy, private collection, photo on Bonhams, Hong Kong (classified as Yellow Jambhala on HAR).

A very rare and interesting image of a wealth deity with a friendly yaksha appearance, holding a gem-shaped citron in his right hand like Yellow Jambhala, but with an ingot in his left hand (instead of a mongoose). According to textual sources, Kubera may hold a mace, a mongoose or a horn to hold coins in his left hand, and a hook, a pomegranate, a money bag or a mace in his right hand.

Tibet, famous lamas (20)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Sönam Tsemo, copper alloy, is or was at the Spituk monastery in Ladakh, photo by Chiara Bellini, here  .  

Portrayed as a deified lama, holding the stem of lotuses that support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript, Sonam Tsemo does the ‘turning the wheel of the law’ gesture (dharmacakra mudra) with his hands close to each other. The long sleeves covering both arms indicate that he was a layman, not a monk. See biographical notes here .

16th century, Tibet, Shakya Yeshe, gilt copper cast and repoussé, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 16265 lot 2865. Biographical notes on Treasury of Lives 

This teacher does the same gesture but with his hands apart. He wears monastic garments, that leave his right arm bare.

16th century, Tibet, Sonam Chokyi Langpo, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 17598 lot 350.

This 15th century teacher, who was to become the 2nd Panchen Lama posthumously, is shown  with his right hand in the gesture of debate (vitarka mudra) and the left hand cupped to hold a manuscript. He wears sumptuous Chinese silk garb including a meditation cloak with a floral motif and an embroidered border that covers his feet, and sits on a brocaded cushion  atop a throne embellished with chased patterns.

16th century, Tibet, lama, possibly Drubchen Kunga Lodra, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

Originally labelled ‘Milarepa’, this figure is thought to represent another teacher and is attributed to a Tsang atelier (see HAR  )

17th century, Tibet, Yutog Yontan Gonpo, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources  .

It is not clear if there were actually two lamas with the same name (also spelled Yuthok Yonten) referred to as ‘the younger’ and ‘the older’ but this image is certainly different from the others we have seen so far. Instead of having a mahasiddha appearance he is fully dressed like a layman and his hair is smooth. There is a vase of longevity in his left hand, the right one does the boon-granting gesture.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Dromtön, stone, is or was at the Lima Lakhang of the Potala Palace in Lhasa (Tibet), photo by Ulrich von Schroeder.

A rare and early stone sculpture of Dromtön Gyalwe/Gyelwa Jungne, who lived during the 11th century (see biographical notes on Treasury of Lives ), dressed as a layman.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Pakpa Lodrö Gyeltsen, at the Chenré monastery in Ladakh, photo by Chiara Bellini as above.

We had seen him portrayed as a deified lama, but not as an elderly man with a moustache and goatee. He holds a flaming triple gem (triratna) in his left hand. The right hand does the gesture of debate (vitarka mudra).

15th century, Tibet, Jetsun Khokhlungpa Namkha Rapsel, copper (brass) with copper inlay, at the Chenré monastery in Ladakh, photo by Chiara Bellini as before.

Namkha Rapsel from Khokhlung, holding a round flaming jewel in his left hand.

17th century, Tibet, Jamyang Rinchen, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

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The following, which are part of a set of lamdre teachers from the Mindroling monastery, have been published in the ‘unidentified lamas’ section of this blog, and were originally dated ‘early 16th century’. They have since been identified in A Revolutionary Artist of Tibet by David Jackson, who attributes them to the artist Khyentse Chenmo, and around ‘1460 to 1470’.

photo by Verena Ziegler, 2009 on WHAV.

Sakya master Tegchen Choje, also known as Kunga Tashi (1349-1425), is one of the elderly men in the gilt copper repoussé set. He wears monastic garments and has both hands on his knees.

photo by Verena Ziegler, 2009, on WHAV.

There are several lamas called Sonam Gyaltsen; the lamdre teacher lived during the 14th century (1312-1375) and belonged to the Sakya school of Tibetan buddhism. This work depicts him doing the fear-allaying gesture with his right hand, the left one may have supported a manuscript. A photo of the same sculpture taken by Ulrich von Schroeder in 1992 shows that the cold gold and pigments on the faces were renovated after.

Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – seated (8)

Pala period, (Tibet?), Avalokiteshvara – khasarpani, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo on Arman Antiques

A rare brass sculpture of the bodhisattva of compassion with silver-inlaid eyes, seated on a double lotus base with plump petals and coarse beading, his Pala-style chignon topped with a large lotus bud finial, his right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity, the left hand holding the stem of a lotus while doing a gesture to ward off evil. The manuscript tucked in his belt is a singular feature.

The lotus petals at the back of the base are engraved rather than cast.

14th-15th century, Central Tibet, Padmapani (Avalokiteshvara), bronze, private collection, photo on weart

(Possibly earlier and from Western Tibet?) this brass figure depicts a bodhisattva with a leg pendent, the foot placed on a blue lotus rising from the plinth, his right hand in the fear-allaying gesture, the left hand warding off evil. He is flanked by a blue/night lotus (utpala) and a day lotus.

16th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara? (labelled ‘Vairocana’), copper alloy with copper and stone inlay, photo in Antiques Trade Gazette

A Pala-style figure displaying a lotus embossed in the palm of his right hand extended in the gesture of supreme generosity, his matted hair piled in an elaborate chignon topped with a lotus and jewel finial, a sash drawn tightly across his chest.

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Padmapani (Avalokiteshvara), bronze with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips, private collection, photo on Olympia Auctions .

An example of the ‘late Pala revival’ style, depicting Avalokiteshvara seated on a double-lotus atop a stepped throne recalling the shape of a tortoise.

Tibet, various female deities (7)

11th or 12th century, Western Tibet, Prajnaparamita, bronze (brass), private collection, photo on Concept Art

One of a group of early brass sculptures from Western Tibet depicting the four-arm form of the goddess of transcendent wisdom, mother of all  buddhas, with her lower right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity, the left one cupped as if to hold a bowl, the upper hands clutching a (missing) rosary and a manuscript. On this occasion there is a broad sash across her breast instead of a sacred cord.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vishvamata? (labelled ‘Tara’), gilt bronze with turquoise inlay and pigment, private collection, photo on Bonhams, Hong Kong .

The iconography is, at first sight, the same as for White Tara but she has a rectangular urna, not a third eye, on her forehead and there are no eyes incised or embossed in the palm of her hands, which points to Kalachakra’s consort, Vishvamata, who may be depicted alone.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Sarasvati, polychrome wood, private collection, photo by Christie’s here .

The goddess of the arts and speech, of Hindu origin, in her one-head and two-arm form, seated with her legs crossed and playing the vina.

16th century, Tibet, Marici, gilt copper (alloy) and turquoise, private collection, photo on origineexpert

In Tibetan art Marici/Marichi in her one-head and two-arm form normally holds a needle and thread. This figure holds a vase in her right hand and the stem of a lotus that supports a disc in the other.

15th century, Tibet, goddess, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, London, 12th July 2006.

A four-headed (Buddhist?) female figure with eight arms, holding fly whisks in every hand.

Pala India, Shakyamuni (4)

9th-10th c., Northeast India, Shakyamuni, brass, is or was at the Lima Lakhang in Lhasa (Tibet), published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The historical buddha is seated on a Nalanda-style double-lotus atop a throne covered with a cloth and decorated with viyalas and stupas, topped with a parasol. The nimbus behind the buddha’s head is embossed with a bodhi tree, under which he gained enlightenment.

10th-11th century, Northeast India, Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo by Millon.

A Kurkihar-style buddha, standing, holding a piece of his garment in his left hand and showing the palm of his right hand in a gesture of supreme generosity. He is adorned with a tripartite crown, a necklace and earrings.

11th century, Northeast India, Kurkihar, Shakyamuni, bronze, photo on Artkhade .

Crowned and seated, his right hand calling Earth to witness his enlightenment.

11th-12th century, India (labelled ‘Pala’), Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection, photo on Sanjay Kapoor Inc.    

We have come across a few similar brass sculptures with silver-inlaid eyes of the historical buddha seated on a lotus base. The above has a small vajra sceptre before him. The hem of his sanghati is decorated with a chased geometrical pattern.

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Shakyamuni at Bodhgaya, brass with silver and copper inlay, photo by Björn Arvidsson for the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

Shakyamuni is seated on an embroidered cushion with Kirtimukha at the front, atop a throne supported by two erect snow lions, the goddess of Earth, a male figure, two elephants and a central figure seated at ease on the back of an animal. 

See also the page “Bodh Gaya-type seated buddhas” in the left-hand margin of this blog.