Tibet, Shakyamuni – seated (16)

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, stone, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The historical buddha is surrounded by five figures, probably the five tathagatas. He holds a begging bowl in his left hand and touches the earth with the other.

Undated (circa 13th century?), Tibet, Shakaymuni, at a mountain sanctuary, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

This brass sculpture with a copper-inlaid hem and a tall double-lotus base with plump petals belongs to a group of early Tibetan Pala-style works with very harmonious lines and proportions.

The buddha’s chignon is topped with a rare flaming finial indicating the moment of enlightenment. His eyes and urna are inlaid with silver and his lips with copper.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

This figure, complete with begging bowl, sits on a rare double lotus base topped with a row of stamens, no beading, the two levels separated by a plain band in the middle. The buddha himself as an unusually elongated chignon topped with a large lotus bud finial. The hem of his sanghati is decorated with an incised geometrical pattern.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Here there is a vajra sceptre in front of him  on the base (and a bowl in his left hand).

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This rare work depicts him with a lotus bud under his middle finger.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The iconography is the same for Akshobhya…

but the embossed lotus-like wheels on the sole of his feet identify him as Shakyamuni.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Xanadu.

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Tibet, Amitayus – bodhisattva appearance (11)

 

MAY LONG-LIFE DEITY AMITAYUS BRING YOU PEACE AND HARMONY!

 

11th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt bronze, at the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This Nepalese-style work depicts Amitayus, who normally has a bodhisattva appearance and holds a long-life vase. He is an aspect of Amitabha, whose mount is the peacock, hence the two peacocks supporting the throne, which is covered with a cloth decorated with a wheel of dharma at the front.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Amitabha (Amitayus), bronze, at the Kyangphu monastery, Shigatse, Tibet photo from the Huntington Archive.

Here, the throne is supported by a seated figure between two peacocks.

Unlike the yakshas that often support thrones, this figure is tall and thin, and his body is decorated with floral roundels on the knees, forearms, elbows and chest.

16th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Amitayus is always seated in the vajra position, with both hands in the meditation gesture.

17th century, Tibet, Amitayus, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with stone inlay, at the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This buddha’s crown, jewellery and long-life vase are inlaid with large cabochons typical of works inspired by late Malla art from Nepal.

18th century, Tibet, Amitayus, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The late Pala-revival style often includes a thin fluttering scarf.

Tibet, various dakinis

15th-16th century, Tibet, Kurukulla, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Kurukulla is a tantric meditational deity with a dakini appearance (naked, standing on one leg, adorned with wrathful ornaments). She has one head and two to eight arms.

The above has four arms and holds a bow and arrow in the upper left hand, the stem of a plant in the lower one. Her upper right hand does the ‘fingers crossed’ gesture, the lower one holds an elephant goad ( vajra hook).

18th century, Tibet (or Tibeto-Chinese?), Kurukulla, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Prima Porta Antiquities.

A more modern work with the same iconography but Chinese-style features and accessories.

13th century, probably Tibet, dakini Chandali, metal with gilding and pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Chandali normally holds a wheel (cakra) and a plough, or a corpse and a heart. This dakini holds an axe in her left hand and another object, possibly a vajra sceptre, in her right hand.

13th century, probably Tibet, dakini Gauri, gilt metal with pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Gauri holds a fish in her left hand and a flaying knife in the other.

16th-17th century, Central Tibet, dakini, bronze (copper alloy), at the Patan Museum.

Possibly Vajrayogini, the above holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

Undated (15th-16th century?), Tibet, Tsang province, Machig Labdron, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This historical female teacher is normally depicted as a wisdom dakini, with one head and three eyes, two hands in which she holds a drum and a bell, two legs in a dancing posture, adorned with a five-leaf crown, bone  jewellery and a beaded belt or bone apron. Apart from adding a garland of skulls, the artist has made an interesting use of the celestial scarf on this example, using it as a frame and a support for her right knee.

A view of the back shows that she wears both a cross belt and a bone apron.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Machig Labdron, silver on a gilt copper alloy base, stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The same character in a seated position, with three eyes, the same attributes and richly stone-inlaid gilt jewellery (most stones now missing).

 

Tibet, Tara – variants

18th-19th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

In Tibet, most sculptures of Tara show her seated. When her legs are locked in the vajra position, we are looking at White Tara (with a white skin on paintings). She has three eyes on her face and an eye in the palm of each hand. Her attribute is the lotus, which she holds in her left hand while the other is held out in a gesture of generosity.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum in London (UK).

The hand position of the above deity doesn’t correspond to the standard iconography for Tara. Presumably, the eye in the palm of her left hand is visible and identifies her beyond doubt. She has two lotuses in her headdress and is adorned with floral jewellery.

16th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

White Tara may also be standing. The above has an effigy of Amitabha in her headdress.

13th century, Tibet, Tara, bronze (brass) with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

When she has the right leg pendant, with the foot resting on a lotus stemming from the base, we are looking at Green Tara (with a green skin on paintings). She is always seated, only has two eyes, and also holds a lotus. On this Pala-style work her right hand does the gesture of supreme generosity and displays an embossed lotus in her palm.

Her eyes are inlaid with silver. The pupils are placed high up, in the Indian fashion

Her belt is inlaid with copper, her garment is decorated with rows of silver and copper-inlaid florets.

Late 16th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Tibet, Vajrayogini – variants (4)

13th century, Tibet, bronze, Vajrayogini, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Facing the viewer, Vajrayogini, with a dakini appearance, holds a flaying knife at head level and a skull cup before her heart. She stands with one foot on the pedestal and the other crushing the head of a prostrate victim. She is adorned with bone jewellery, a skull crown and a garland of severed heads.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

16th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddhadakini, bronze , private collection, published on on http://www.bumpercollection.org

In her Naro dakini/ Sarvabuddhadakini (etc.) aspect she is portrayed sideways and usually stands on two victims. She raises the skull cup to her mouth to drink the blood from it, while the flaying knife is held down, close to her right leg.

17th century, Tibet, possibly Vajravarahi, bronze, private collection, photo from the Werner Forman Archive.

Assuming that the shape that protrudes from her left temple is the head of a sow, we are looking at Vajravarahi, one of Vajrayogini’s forms (see the previous post).

18th century, Tibet, Vajrayogini Dechen Gyalmo, gilt copper alloy and stones, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

Few sculptures show this form of Vajrayogini holding up a drum with her right hand and clutching a flaying knife in the other, against her hip. The above is adorned with a garland of flowers as well as the usual accessories.

 

Tibet, Shakyamuni on a lion throne (2)

Undated, probably Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Stockholm Museum (Sweden).

This masterpiece belongs to a group of sculptures thought to be copies of a statue from the Bodh Gaya temple, although none of them reproduce the pleating on the robe of the Bodh Gaya icon. The squarish face and lobed abdomen suggest that the above was made in Tibet. The buddha sits on an embroidered cushion with Kirtimukha at the centre, on a throne supported by two snow lions and two elephants, decorated with two female figures, one of them the goddess of Earth whom he called to witness at the time of his enlightenment.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

This type of throne with a stepped plinth and another cut out platform over the lions, decorated with stone-inlaid vajra sceptres and a visvajra at the centre,  appears to have been popular in Tibet during the 13th and 14th centuries. Shakyamuni wears the patched robe of a mendicant, indicating that he has given up earthly possessions. He calls Earth to witness with his right hand, the other is held in the meditation gesture.

14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A plainer lion throne, covered with a round cloth.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy and pigment, private collection, published on http://www.invaluable.com.

This throne has an almost pyramidal, plinth with large beading at the bottom. The lotus base with petals going upwards is supported by two lions, two elephants and yaksha. The buddha, who holds a bowl in his left hand, is seated on a richly embroidered cushion with a scrolled vegetation motif typical of the period.

 

 

 

Tibet, Shakyamuni seated (10)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy) with silver and copper inlay, cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This buddha wears a pleated garment with one extremity resting over the left shoulder and down the forearm in a singular fashion. The ‘bracelet’ on his right wrist is a recent addition, presumably to strengthen it.

There is an incised wheel of dharma in the palms of his hands and on the soles of his feet. He has delicate tapered fingers and fleshy toes.

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

A Nepalese-style buddha, fire-gilt, with thick black curls, broad shoulders and big limbs, a curl of hair (urna) on his forehead, the hem of his sanghati decorated with an incised geometrical pattern and beading, the plinth of the lotus base painted with red pigment.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, cast in three parts, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This sculpture has red pigment on the top of the base as well as on the plinth, a ritual practice associated with Nepal and the Khasa Malla kingdom (Nepal/Tibet, 12th-14th century).

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, cast in two parts, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Carlos M., at the Emory University in Atlanta (USA).

14th century, Tibet or China, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.