Tibet, Achala (14)

12th century or later, Tibet, Achala, bronze with traces of gilding, private collection, photo on Waddingtons .

Blue Achala, half-kneeling half-crouching, with a flaming sword in his right hand and a (missing) noose in the other, no victim under him. This form of the deity always has his mouth closed and usually bites his lower lip. He wears a tiger skin loin cloth and is adorned with snakes, no garland of severed heads or skull crown. Instead, he wears a foliate crown and princely jewellery.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Achala, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on Theodore Bruce .

He may have a human appearance, like the above, who wears a conical helmet topped with half-vajra finial, a crown with Kirtimukha at the front and a long jewelled sacred cord.

14th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze with cold gold and pigment, private collection, photo by Koller, 6th May 2014 lot101.

He has one head with three eyes and often has an effigy of Amitabha in his chignon. When standing, he either crushes two victims or elephant-headed Ganapati.

17th century (or later?), Tibet, Achala, bronze, private collection, photo on Arcimboldo  .

He may also hold a vajra sceptre in his left hand instead of a noose.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Achala (labelled ‘Mahakala’), gilt bronze, private collection, (broken sword), photo by Millon, Arts d’Asie 20th June 2017 lot 331.

Tibet, Yellow Jambhala (20)

13th-14th c., Tibet, Jambhala, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s on HAR

Yellow Jambhala is holding a tiny mongoose by the neck with his left hand and displaying a (missing) citrus fruit with the other. He sits with his right leg pendent, the foot placed on a lotus stemming from the lotus base.

13th-14th century, Tibet?, Jambhala, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo on Ethereal .

On this elegant sculpture derived from the Pala-style, his right foot is placed on a pot of gems. Silver has been used for the eyes, copper for the lips, and both metals for the shorter necklace and the armbands; his long dhoti is decorated with a chased geometrical pattern. His accessories include a garland.

14th century, Tibet?, Yellow Jambhala, bronze, private collection, photo by Poly Auction, sale HKS3316-2 lot 3233.

A variant, with a long-life vase below his right foot.

17th century (or earlier?), Tibet, Walking Jambhala, bronze (copper alloy) with silver-inlaid eyes and turquoise, private collection, photo on Hardt .

A rare and surprising sculpture of Jambhala in a walking pose, holding his mongoose in his left hand and a round citrus fruit or gem in the other, his right arm stretched sideways. His short dhoti is deeply engraved with a (tiger skin?) pattern. His hair is tied in a large bun, he has a beard and bushy eyebrows and wears princely jewellery, no crown.

18th century, Tibet, Black Jambhala (labelled ‘Kubera’), polychrome stone, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 100 China 2.

Tibet, lamas and their hands (3)

16th-17th century, Tibet, Nyingmapa Lama, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s.

This teacher has the piercing gaze, the sun-and-moon symbol at the front of his lotus hat, the goatee and the position of the hands associated with Padmasambhava. However, he wears monastic garments (that leave his right arm uncovered) and his headgear includes folded lappets and a half-vajra finial, not a vulture feather. The position of his left fingers suggests he may have held a skull cup or a bowl.

15th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with traces of gilding, private collection, published on HAR .

A rare sculpture of an elderly teacher dressed in full monastic garb including a meditation cloak, seated on cushion covered with an animal skin (lion according to the Himalayan Art Resources website) and a blanket, atop a stepped plinth decorated with two lions and an upright vajra sceptre. His right hand does the gesture of debate, the other may have held a book.

16th century, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

A lama with long hair at the back and thick curls at the front, seated on an antelope skin atop a lotus base decorated with a chased pattern, his legs not quite locked. His outer robe, made of silk embroidered with a floral design, is worn low down to display the elegant knot of his belt. The left hand does the gesture of supreme generosity.

16th century, Tibet, lama, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on Millon .

This teacher, seated in the vajra position, does the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture.

14th-15th century (or 16th century?), Tibet?, guru, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Ethereal.This elderly lama’s patched clothes have an unusual border with a large floral motif. The lower part of his lotus seat is also decorated with flowers. His right hand is in the ‘calling Earth to witness’ gesture, symbolising the moment when the historical buddha attained enlightenment.

17th-18th century, Tibet, lama, bronze (brass), at the Minneapolis Institute of Art  (USA).

Depicted in the manner of the 13th-14th century, this lama is seated on a thick cushion with rounded corners and wears his meditation cloak partly off his shoulders, securing it over his legs with his right hand.

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.

Khasa Malla Kingdom (21)

13th-14th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla Kingdom, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy, collection of Yury Khokhlov, photo on Academia.

Avalokiteshvara in his four-arm form holds a (missing) rosary and a lotus in his upper hands, the other two are pressed together before his heart as if to hold a wish-granting gem. 

The lotus base with its plump inner petals, roundish outer ones, plain lower rim, thick beading at the top, red paint  on the surface and at the back is typical of Khasa Malla art from Western Nepal/Western Tibet. Other specific features are the knuckles delineated on the outside, the long lower garment and, therefore, the absence of shin ornaments.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s, see also the at the Tszshan Museum  website.

The historical buddha, in his crowned form, dressed in a monastic robe and adorned with a crown but no jewellery, his right hand touching the Earth. We saw this statue in the Nepalese section of the blog because it had not been identified as ‘Khasa Malla’.

14th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla, Shakyamuni (labelled ‘Akshobhya’), gilt copper alloy with turquoise, private collection, photo by Koller sale A163AS.

A similar depiction, also with smooth hands. We have seen other Khasa Malla figures without delineated finger joints, and some works attributed to the Kathmandu Valley are probably from the Khasa Malla kingdom, especially crowned buddhas of this sort.

14th century, Nepal, (Khasa Malla, Western Tibet?), Shakyamuni, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Poly Auction .

The large head with distinctly Tibetan facial features, the broad shoulders, sturdy limbs, delineated knuckles of this buddha are all features associated with the Khasa Malla kingdom of Western Nepal/Western Tibet. Apart form the usual rice grain pattern and dense fan-shaped pleating below the ankles, we will note the piece of fabric forming elaborate pleats and a three-pointed end over his left shoulder and, above all, the way the artist has delineated the top of the ribcage of the buddha.

14th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla Kingdom, Avalokiteshvara, silver with gilt copper, Nyingjei Lam Collection, photo here .

Avalokiteshvara in one of his four-arm forms, holding a (missing) rosary and a lotus in his upper hands, the main hands joined before his heart in the wish-granting gesture. The combination of silver and gilt copper, and the thick foliate ‘flaming’ mandorla are features specific to Khasa Malla art (within the Himalayas).

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  .

Tibet, Vajradhara – alone (18)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s .

14th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with silver and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Pundole’s, sale M0009 lot 38.

Late 16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (brass) with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo on Christie’s, Paris .

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze with traces of polychromy, private collection, photo on Christie’s, Paris .

Vajradhara, seated with his legs locked and holding a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell in his hands crossed over his heart.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with turquoise inlay, photo by Sotheby’s, Arts d’Asie 11th June 2009.

Alternatively, his attributes are supported by lotuses he holds in his hands, always crossed over his heart.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (brass) restored, private collection, photo Christie’s, Paris .