Tibet, various female deities (4)

12th century, Tibet, female, bronze (copper alloy), Navin Kumar collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

This female deity holds a ritual water pot in both hands and there is another on the plinth of the lotus base, together with a small kneeling figure, possibly the donor.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Vajratara, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Rarely seen in Tibet in the form of sculpture, Vajratara/Vajritara normally has one head with three eyes and 4 to 8 hands, in which she holds a vajra sceptre, a noose, an arrow, a conch shell, in her right hands, a bow, another arrow (or vice-versa), a lotus and a hook (broken here). The above has three heads topped with a vajra finial.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Pancha Raksha deity, gilt metal with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

Out of the five Pancha Raksha deities, one of them, Pratisara, has eight hands in which she holds most of these attributes but she normally has three heads, this one only has one. Her main hands are ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ and hold the stem of two lotuses; the remaining left hands hold a bow, a stem?, a ritual water pot, the remaining right hands hold an arrow and a wheel, the lower one displays knowledge.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Africasia.

Seated with a leg pendent and her right foot on a lotus, this female character holds a triple gem in her right hand.

Late 16th century, Tibet, Amdo, Sarasvati, painted clay, at the Kumbum of Taer monastery, Xining, published in Empire of Emptiness by Patricia Ann Berger.

Sarasvati, goddess of the arts and speech, with one head and two hands, playing the vina.

 

 

 

 

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Tibet, Wrathful Vajrapani with bell

12th-13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, Nilambadhara, brass with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Marcel Nies.

In one of his most common forms, wrathful Vajrapani brandishes his main attribute and presses a bell against his left side. He is adorned with the eight snake ornaments (no skull crown and no garland of severed heads) and usually treads on an elephant-headed demon lying on snakes (Bhut Aparajita). The above wears a foliate crown, large earrings and snakes, his tiger skin loin cloth is held in place with a cloth belt. The petals on the pedestal are engraved rather than sculpted, which helps date the piece.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, photo by Hayman Himalayan Art.

A similar appearance, with two figures on the pedestal, who represent ego and ignorance.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, black stone, private collection, photo by Renaud Montméat.

In theory, he never wears a skull crown but he may have a garuda in his headdress. This one wears a five-skull tiara and there is a garuda at the top of the arch behind him.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The bell is often held upside-down.

 

 

 

 

Tibet, Yellow Jambhala (14)

Circa 12th century, Tibet, Jambhala, brass, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Yellow Jambhala always sits at ease and normally holds a mongoose in his left hand and a citron in the other.

The above is described as holding a gem. He wears a foliate crown and bulky jewellery, a long garment and a thin sash across his chest, both incised with a geometrical motif. His right foot rests on a vase of abundance.

12th-13th century (or later?), Tibet, Jambhala, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Koller.

He is always peaceful, with a yaksha appearance (short limbs, big belly, bulging eyes) and has a yellow body on paintings. Occasionally his right foot is on a lotus shooting from the base.

He is seldom shown with a mahasiddha hair style as above.

12th-14th century, Nepal or Tibet, brass, Yellow Jambhala, private collection.

The plinth with irregular scrolling vines, the V-shaped necklace, the jewelled ornament in his mitre-like hair bunch, the rosettes and long wavy ribbons reminiscent of Gilgit are all singular features that point to Tibet, while the shape of the lotus petals corresponds to the (circa) 12th century.

14th century, Tibet, Jambhala, bronze, private collection, photo by Polyauction.

Here, the right foot is placed on a long-life vase. His mongoose vomits strings of jewels.

15th century, Tibet, Jambhala (labelled Vaishravana), bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel.

Another specimen with a lotus under his right foot, his shoulders covered with a silk shawl. A few jewels from the mongoose’s mouth have piled up on the base.

18th century, Tibet, Jambhala, (labelled Kubera), gilt copper alloy, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Late Chinese-style works often depict him with sharp facial features, bushy eyebrows and a curly beard that depart from his usual friendly and benevolent, almost child-like appearance.

 

 

Tibet, standing female characters

Undated, Tibet (or Nepal?), standing female, bronze with cold gold, pigments, turquoise, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Very similar in style to a Transitional Period Nepalese Tara worshipped in Tibet and published in a previous post, this female character seems to have held a couple of attributes in her hand. Her hair is divided in two coils visible behind the large front panel of her tiara.

Undated, Tibet, standing female, bronze with cold gold, pigments, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Probably from the same period, a similar figure with both hands clasped against her heart in a gesture of salutation, or perhaps to hold a jewel.

12th-14th century, Western Tibet, female deity, brass, is or was at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

Clearly made in Western Tibet, this intriguing personage holds a couple of attributes.

A water pot in the right hand, a disc or mirror in the other.

14th century, Tibet, female, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

This small character with a floral crown and a long garment incised with a large floral pattern holds a skull cup in her left hand and a grain or pearl in the other, between forefinger and thumb.

14th-15th century, Central Tibet, Densatil, offering goddesses, from a frieze, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Four deities with one head and four hands each, in a dancing pose, the first from the left of the viewer holds a flaming jewel and a drum in her right hands, a skull cup and a missing object in the others; the next one has a bowl and a drum in her right hands, a grain or a pearl and another bowl in her left hands; the following one has a jewelled scarf in her main hands, a drum and a skull cup in the others; the last one holds a drum and what could be a mirror, one hand is severed, the other has lost its attribute.

Undated (circa 16th century?), Tibet, Yeshe Tsogyal, metal (brass), private collection, published in Sattvas & Ratjas The Culture and Art of Tibetan Buddhism, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

17th century, Tibet, Yeshe Tsogyal, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Allegedly the consort of King Trisong Detsen before becoming Padmasambhava’s, Yeshe Tsogyal is regarded as a buddha, and an emanation of Vajrayogini and Tara or Sarasvati. She may hold a skull cup; on these two examples she holds a vase in one hand and does the fear-allaying gesture with the other.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt bronze with copper and silver inlay, pigments, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

White Tara, standing on a Pala-style pedestal, her right hand extended, the other holding the stem of a lotus, her garment inlaid with copper and silver roundels to imitate the original Indian Pala art, her face with three eyes, painted with cold gold and pigments.

Undated, Tibet, female donor, gilt bronze with cold gold, pigments, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

It is not clear what this donor holds in both hands, perhaps a conch shell?

 

Tibet, Green Tara (12)

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

A Tibetan-style Green Tara, with a leg pendent but no lotus under her foot, an original utpala to her right and a fully open lotus to her left, her hands doing the gesture of supreme generosity and bestowing refuge, adorned with an unusual crown and foliate jewellery.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

Another original work with an unusual crown and blue lotus design, her right foot placed on a lotus bud, seemingly of the utpala variety.

Circa 13th century (or later?), Tibet, Tara, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke.

A mixed-style figure with a thin body, an effigy of Amitabha in her headdress, a large lotus flower under her right foot, an incised garment and incised accessories and hair, sitting on a Pala-style base with a stepped plinth with very large beading at the bottom, a design typical of the area and period, except for the shape of the petals often see on 18th century works.

13th century, Tibet, Tara, bronze with silver inlay, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

One of a series of well-proportioned Pala-style Green Taras with her left foot over the right thigh and her hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma’.

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Renaud Montméat.

The rods to secure the panels of her crown and the way the two lotuses frame the subject point to the 13th or 14th century. Here the blue lotus/utpala is to her left.

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper with stones, Newari artist, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

As we have seen before, most early Nepalese works are made of copper rather than copper alloy, and it was the Newars who introduced fire gilding and stone inlay to Tibet. They preferred clear gems while Tibetan patrons favoured hard stones such as turquoise and lapis lazuli, and coral. Both lotuses here are of the blue variety.

14th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with paint and stones (most of them missing), at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

And here both lotuses are fully open. Her chignon and unusual red finial look as if they may have been refreshed with paint at a later date.

She has a tiny square urna on her forehead and a Kirtimukha design on the front panel of her crown.

Padmapani, early Malla period (8)

12th-14th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, bronze (copper alloy) with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Avalokiteshvara, in his padmapani form, wears a one-piece floral crown with large bows, matching accessories, a sacred thread, a sash across his hips and knotted at the back. Standing on an unusual single-lotus base with foliage on each side, he holds the stem of a large lotus in his left hand, the other displays generosity.

Circa 13th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt metal, stone inlay, photo by Tenzig Asian Art.

A seated version, the base missing, with a richly incised dhoti that reaches just below the knee, adorned with accessories inlaid with clear gems and turquoise, holding the stem of an eight-petal lotus with a raised centre.

14th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, stone inlay, at the Berkley Art Museum (USA), published on wikicommons.

The effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, the antelope skin over his shoulders, the accessories inlaid with turquoise and a red stone (to imitate coral) are more often seen in Tibet, perhaps this item was commissioned by a Tibetan patron.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper and gems, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

14th-15th century, same as before, photo by Christie’s.

This bodhisattva wears a long skirt-like garment typical of the period and a celestial scarf with serpentine ends going upwards in the Chinese fashion.

 

Nepal, Jambhala – Transitional period (2)

10th century, Nepal, Kathmandu Valley, Jambhala (labelled Kubera), bronze, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

This dark bronze depicts Yellow Jambhala seated on a throne supported by two lions, holding a mongoose and a citrus fruit, adorned with three necklaces, armbands and a low crown, his left foot resting on lotuses stemming from the base.

Undated (labelled ‘possibly 12th century), Nepal, Jambhala (labelled Kubera), copper alloy, same as before.

Although his mongoose is missing from his left hand, the citron in his right hand identify this figure as Yellow Jambhala, seated at royal ease, a flaming halo fastened to his back. He is adorned with a floral tiara matching earrings, armbands, and a curious necklace with large medallions and some lace that passes under his breasts like a cross belt.

Circa 13th century, Nepal, Jambhala, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

We rarely get a chance to see early sculptures complete with their base and back plate. Here, Jambhala is seated at ease on a patterned cloth placed over the stepped lion throne, in the manner of the ancient Swat Valley art.