Tibet, Shakyamuni – bhumisparsha mudra (2)

12th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with pigment, circular nimbus missing, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

On this rare and early sculpture, the chignon of the buddha is shaped like a lotus finial. The hem of his diaphanous garments (the dhoti much longer than the robe) is marked with incisions, there is no cloth folded over the left shoulder.

12th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Another, more standard, Pala-style work, with thick folds of cloth fanning over the lotus base, and an extremity of the garment neatly arranged over the left shoulder.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A large majority of Tibetan metal sculptures depict the historical buddha at the moment of enlightenment, his right hand calling Earth to witness, the left hand cupped in the gesture of meditation.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy (brass) with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This item illustrates the high degree of craftsmanship acquired by Tibetan artists many centuries ago.

The face of the buddha has been painted with cold gold and his hair dyed with blue pigment, probably lapis lazuli powder. One extremity of his outer garment is arranged in a swallow-tail shape over his left shoulder.

The back of the statue elegantly draped, and with lotus petals all around the base.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper and pigment, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The  triangular face and the use of black pigment in the hair are the ‘signature’ of a Newari artist working in Tibet, confirmed by the use of pure copper.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, white sandalwood, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

The shape of the lotus petals on this rare work is very similar to those on the first sculpture in this post. The plinth is decorated with scrolls and there is a blue lotus on each side of the nimbus behind the buddha’s head.

Early 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips, nails and hem. Private collection, photo by Boran Asian Art, published on http://www.boranasianart.com.

The broad hem on the robe of his buddha (identified by the dharma wheels on the sole of his feet) is decorated with an incised and stippled geometrical pattern.

 

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Tibet, Vajrasattva – various forms

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, brass with  turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

In his peaceful form, Vajrasattva may be seated or standing. When seated he holds a vajra sceptre in his right hand at heart level, often upright, and a bell in the other against his hip. The thin celestial scarf forming a frame around the subject is typical of a group of metal sculptures attributed to 13th and 14th century Tibet.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

A rare sculpture of the deity in his heruka form, seated in embrace with his consort and holding the attributes in the same way as Vajradhara would.

Bonhams point out that it is the sharp facial expression on his face that distinguishes him from the latter. (The fact that she holds the same attributes is another clue: Vajradhara’s consort would hold a vajra sceptre  and a skull cup).

16th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva and consort, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Peaceful, with the consort.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva and consort, heruka form, brass with cold gold and pigments, is or was at Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

An extremely rare brass sculpture of the wrathful form of this buddha, with his consort. He holds the vajra sceptre upright before his heart and the bell against his hip, clad in  a tiger skin loin cloth and adorned with snakes, including a long one worn as a sacred thread. She wears a leopard skin, holds a knife and a skull cup and is adorned with snakes. Their face is painted with cold gold and pigments, their hair dyed with orange pigment. The stand on a double-lotus base complete with flaming mandorla.

Tibet, peaceful Vajrapani

9th-10th century, Tibet, probably Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

We have seen at least one example of Vajrapani holding a vajra sceptre in his right hand and the tall stem of a lotus in the other, instead of a bell. This figure stands with poise despite unusually broad shoulders and big limbs.

He has Pala-style facial features and accessories.

His short dhoti is richly incised and held in place with a belt decorated with a raining jewel pendant.

12th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This Vajrapani holds a vajra sceptre before his heart and a bell (ghanta) at hip level. He has a knee-length dhoti decorated with an incised lotus pattern  and is adorned with princely jewellery including floral earrings and a necklace with a heart-shaped bead in the middle.

There is an effigy of Akshobhya in his headdress.

There is no gilding at the back of the statue, which probably had a mandorla fastened to it.

12th-13th century (or 18th century?), Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

There is a debate as to whether this work actually dates from the 12th-13th century  or whether it is a Pala revival sculpture. The fact is that the sharpness of the petals on the pedestal and the chiselled effect of his plaited hair and of the flowers he holds are not typical of early Tibetan works, and his accessories are a curious mixture of styles and periods.

He is seated with his legs gathered loosely, leaning on his left hand in which he grasps the stem of a lotus. he holds a vajra sceptre horizontally in his right hand.

Tibet, Yellow Jambhala (13)

12th-13th century, Tibet, Jambhala, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

A West-Tibetan style work depicting Jambhala holding his citron and mongoose spitting jewels. He is seated on a double-lotus on a pedestal incised with a geometrical motif, his right foot resting on a vase attached to the base. He has a tall Pala-style chignon and a low tiara with large bows sticking out. Jambhala often wears two necklaces, a choker and a long necklace that forms a U shape over the middle of his chest. This one wears three necklaces and a sacred thread.

13th century, Tibet, Jambhala, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

Again, the style of the headdress and the many incised details point to Western Tibet, especially with the addition of a long foliate garland, normally seen on standing figures. He sits on a single lotus with tall stamens, broad petals with a heart-shaped centre and large beading at the bottom. His lower garment is held in place with belt decorated with a stippled motif.

He has an elaborate choker and a long necklace worn off centre. Even the rosettes and the bows on his tiara and the long braids of hair falling over his shoulders are incised.

Undated, Tibet, Jambhala, (labelled Kubera), bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

This Pala-style figure seated on a lotus pedestal typical of the 12th century (circa) wears a long garment with a broad hem incised with a geometrical motif.

 

 

Tibet, White Manjushri – standing (3)

12th century, Western Tibet, bodhisattva Manjushri, schist and pigments, at Stanford University (USA), published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The manuscript and/or the blue lotus that help identify him are missing.

His moonlike face and his hair are painted with pigments, the chignon is fastened with a golden ribbon and topped with a lotus bud finial. He is adorned with a low tiara, princely jewellery and a sacred thread. His right hand, displays a refuge-bestowing gesture (the tip of the ring finger pressing the tip of the thumb).

 

11th-12th century, Western Himalayas, probably Manjushri, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Pundoles.This West-Tibetan style sculpture is almost the same as a West Tibetan  Manjushri at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, published in a previous post and reproduced below. He holds the stem of a lotus topped with a  manuscript in his left hand and has an upright conch shell in the other.

11th-12th century, Western Tibet, brass, at the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, UK).

17th-18th century, tibet, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

The lotuses that support the hilt of a sword and the Prajnaparamita sutra are a clear indication that this is the bodhisattva of wisdom. His tall Pala-style chignon is also topped with a lotus finial. He wears a long transparent dhoti that reveals his knee caps. The hands are held in the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture more often seen on Chinese and Nepalese sculptures of Manjushri than on Tibetan ones.

Tibet, unidentified bodhisattvas (3)

11th century, Central Tibet, bodhisattva, at the Tibet Museum in Lhasa, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This bodhisattva does the gesture to hold flowers (kataka mudra) with both hands. He wears an early Nepalese-style foliate crown and a broad sash across the chest.

12th-13th century, Tibet, bodhisattva, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

In the absence of any specific attribute, the lotuses on each side of this character are not enough to identify him.

14th century, Central Tibet, bodhisattva, brass, Densatil style, at the Tibet Museum in Lhasa, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The above has his left hand cupped (gesture of meditation) and does the teaching gesture with the other, holding a pearl or gem between the thumb and forefinger.

 

Tibet, peaceful Vajrapani – standing (5)

Labelled 12th-14th century, Western Himalayas (circa 11th century, Western Tibet or Ladakh?), Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy) at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, published on wikipedia commons.

This Guge-style sculpture with an athletic body, marked knee caps, a lobed abdomen and a cruciform navel, is very similar to a 1oth-11th century Avalokiteshvara attributed to Western Tibet or Ladakh by the Musée Guimet in Paris and published in a previous post (see below). Vajrapani holds an upright vajra in his right hand and may have had a bell in the other. He is adorned with a long foliate garland, beaded jewellery, sacred thread and matching belt, large floral earrings and a sash worn tightly across the chest. Long strands of hair dyed with blue pigment fall over his shoulders. His transparent dhoti, shorter on one side and with an incised hem, forms a sharp point at the front that almost reaches the pedestal. The eyes are inlaid with silver in the Kashmiri fashion.

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