Tibet, Naro Khechara (6)

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

This form of Vajrayogini is always portrayed as a young woman, naked, looking sideways towards the skull cup filled with menstrual blood which she raises to her lips, holding a flaying knife in her right hand lowered down. She may be adorned with a skull crown and a bone apron and she treads on one or two victims.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddhadakini, bronze, private collection, published on http://www.bumpercollection.org.

She has long hair, combed back.

Mid 17th century, Tibet, Sarvabuddhadakini, gilt copper repoussé with cast hands, feet and head, private collection, published on http://www.bumpercollection.org

The head is tilted to drink the blood from the cup.

18th century circa, same as before.

The right hand is held palm outwards.

18th century circa, same as before.

In Tibet she is known under various names linked to Naropa (Naro Dakini, Naro Khechara, etc.)

Undated (18th century?), Tibet, Naro Khechara, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

She often wears a garland of fifty freshly severed heads. The above wears skulls instead, and Chinese-style jewellery and accessories including a cross-belt.

Tibet, Vajravarahi (10)

14th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, gilt copper alloy with stone (and coral) inlay, private collection, photo by Bnohams.

Almost identical to a 14th century Tibetan sculpture published previously, Vajravarahi is identified through the sow’s head sticking out of her right temple. On this occasion, her earrings are inlaid with coral cabochons and her shorter necklace is studded with turquoise.

Same as before, photo by Christie’s.

The deity’s celestial scarf often forms a frame around her. She wears a five-skull crown, a garland of fifty freshly severed heads and bone ornaments, and holds a flaying knife, a skull cup, and a ritual staff in the crook of her left arm.

15th century, Central Tibet, Vajravarahi, copper alloy and pigments, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

This dark bronze shows her with cold gold on the face and red pigment on the hair, her raised knee resting against a lotus stemming from the base on which there is no victim. Her belt is incised with a geometrical motif, the contours of the festoons and pendants are engraved rather than sculpted. The same technique has been applied to the seams of her lower garment.

Same, stone, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A stone version, complete with flaming arch and lotus base, her left foot treading on Kalaratri, which represents the ego.

16th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Werner Forman, formerly Philip Goldman collection, published on Werner Forman Archive.

On this work, the artist has used silver inlay for the rim of her crown, her hair ornament, belt, bracelets and anklets, and probably for her eyes and teeth.

17th century, Tibet, Vajravarahi, bronze (gilt copper alloy), same as before.

 

Tibet, Green Tara (9)

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

This smiling Tara displays Chinese-style elements such as a festooned necklace with beaded pendants, a shawl richly incised with a floral pattern that covers her shoulders and part of her back, the ends wound around her forearms, a matching lower garment with sharp pleating worn loosely over the legs.

It is held in place with a belt in the same style as her necklace. The triangular flower to her left is a blue lotus (utpala).

15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Quite a different facial expression, slightly frowning, a curl of hair (urna) on her forehead.

The lotuses on each side of her support the effigy of a buddha.

She wears a ring with the (missing) cabochon worn inside (for us to see) and holds the stem of the lotus to her right.

15th century or early 16th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel.

The design of the lotus base and the shape of the earrings above are often seen on mixed-style Tibetan works from the 16th century circa.

15th century, Tibet or Nepal, Tara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, published on www.haymanhimalayanart.hk.

A simple Malla-style sculpture with a few medium-size cabochons and a large grain rice pattern incised on the hem.

15th late 16th century, same as before.

 

Tibet, Green Tara (8)

14th century, Tibet, Tara, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

Her right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity, the other bestowing refuge and holding the stem of a lotus, Green Tara is adorned with a low tiara and has her hair coiled into an unusual conical chignon. Her soft facial features are typical of Tibetan art.

Same as before, with silver, gold and turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The festooned tiara and belt, the richly inlaid lower garment, the heavy breasts and the ornate lotuses on this masterpiece follow the Indian Pala style. She displays a lotus within a diamond (incised) in the palm of her hand.

14th century, Tibet, Tara and devotees, ivory, Nyingjei Lam collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This rare item depicts her with two small kneeling figures, possibly the donors. Above them, scrolled vegetation, an elephant, a snake and various flowers.

14th-15th century, Western Tibet, Tara, copper alloy with stone and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This figure with silver-inlaid eyes and stone-inlaid jewellery (the stones now missing) is a good example of how West Tibetan artists mixed together elements from outside Tibet with unique features of their own creation, producing highly original pieces, usually un-gilt.

Below the incised rim of her three-leaf crown there is a jewel pendant that rests just above the raised urna on her forehead.

Her lower garment is held in place with a cloth belt knotted at the back and decorated with festoons and pendants.

Late 15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy and pigment, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Her right foot always rests on a lotus flower stemming from the base.

15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt metal with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Tibet, Green Tara (7)

15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Green Tara holds the stem of a lotus in her right hand held palm out in the gesture of supreme generosity, the other bestowing refuge.

Same as before, photo by Christie's.

Same as before, gilt copper alloy, private collection photo by Christie’s.

A fairly similar Nepalese-style image on the same type of lotus base. She has a lotus flower engraved in the palm of her right hand.

Same as before.

Same as before, with turquoise inlay.

Here, the artist has made use of turquoise inlay even for the upper rim of the lotus base.

15th century, Tibet, Tara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, at the Dallas Museum of Art (USA).

On this masterpiece, the petals of the lotuses by her side are inlaid with turquoise. On all of them, the crown has a broader central panel with a design derived from Kirtimukha, who has vegetation coming out of its mouth.

Tibet, Ushnishavijaya (5)

15th century circa, Tibet, Ushnishavijaya, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This is  the three-head and eight-hand form of this long-life goddess, the main hands holding a double thunderbolt sceptre (visvajra),  the lower right hand doing the gesture of supreme generosity, the left one sustaining a long-life vase, her middle hands holding a bow and an arrow, her upper right one an effigy of Amitabha seated on a lotus. The missing object in the top left hand was either a lasso or a thunderbolt sceptre.

17th century, Tibet, Ushnishavijaya, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Here the attributes are missing but the position of the hands is similar. The facial features, shape of the crown and use of parcel gilding are typical of 17th and 18th century Tibeto-Chinese style works (made by a Tibetan artist for a Chinese patron).

Same as before, at the Johnson Museum in Cornwell University (USA).

On this fully gilt example, the arrow is missing from her middle right hand.

 

Tibet, Nairatmya (3)

Undated (14th century?), Tibet, Nairatmya, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This female buddha and meditational deity may be depicted with a dakini appearance, standing on her left foot over a victim, wielding a flaying knife above her head and holding a skull cup at heart level, a ritual staff in the crook of her left arm, as above. This particular sculpture is identical in style to a 14th century sculpture of Hevajra published in a previous post, including the design of the double lotus base, derived from the Indian Pala style, and the way the flaming hair forms a mitre-like shape (it could well be that the two sculptures came out of the same workshop, especially as Nairatmya is Hevajra’s consort). She has no half-vajra finial on her head but holds a vajra sceptre in her right hand instead. Her two necklaces, bone apron, teeth and skull crown are made of silver.

The star-like incisions on her lower garment tell us that it is made of leopard skin ( a flame-like design would indicate a tiger skin loin cloth). Her garland has a row of freshly severed heads at the centre and only a few other heads along the string.

16th-17th century, Tbet, Nairatmya, gilt copper alloy with gems, private collection, photo by Nagel

This later version marries the Nepalese Malla style famous for its rich gilding and abundant stone inlay with the Chinese taste for festooned accessories and serpentine scarves and ribbons. Her ritual staff includes a horizontal vajra sceptre, two human heads and one skull, topped with an upright vajra sceptre. The harmonious body proportions are enhanced by the way her knees are held in a diagonal axis.

Undated, Tibet, Nairatmya, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Nairatmya may also be depicted seated at ease over a victim. Exceptions apart, she has three eyes, wears a five-skull crown with foliate panels on each skull, and holds her flaying knife and skull cup at heart level.

Undated, Tibet, Nairatmya, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A variant, with the skull cup held lower down.

Undated, Tibet ,Nairatmya, gilt metal with cold gold and pigments, same as before.

This one wears a tiger or leopard skin loin cloth held in place with a belt. She sits on a single lotus with large round petals and has a stone (and coral?) inlaid skull-crown with a much larger panel at the centre.