12th century circa, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.
Early Tibetan sculptures normally depict lamas with a sleeveless undergarment, an outer robe which covers the lower undergarment, and a meditation cloak usually worn over the shoulders and wrapping the knees. The above is seated on a low double-lotus base with a backplate decorated with lotus buds and topped with a triratna (set of three gems). The style of his hat originates from the Dolpo area in Nepal.
The artist has used thick beading for the edge of the backplate, incisions for the patched robe, stippling for the floral decoration on the edge of the cloak and piping for the hems.
13th century circa, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy with copper inlay on mouth, nails and hem, private collection, photo by Bonhams.
The meditation cloak is pleated and has a small collar.
The hem of all the garments is often incised, with a floral or a geometrical pattern.
18th century, Tibet, Sakya lama, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).
Sometimes the cloak has slipped off the lama’s shoulders and is piled up around him. We will note the waist of the lower garment showing, and the long strands of plaited hair.
14th-15th century, Tibet. lama, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.
This lama doesn’t wear a cloak, his patched robe covers his legs down to the ankles. Traditionally, the right arm is left bare. He does the turning-the-wheel-of-dharma gesture with his hands.
15th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.
As fashion evolves, the pleats of the lower garment gathered under the breast begin to show slightly under the outer robe around the 15th century.
15th-16th century, Central Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Resources.
17th century, Tibet, lama, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
At times, the waist of the garment, pleated and held in place with a belt, shows completely.