Tibet, Hayagriva and consort (2)

16th century circa, Tibet, Hayagriva and consort, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, Christie’s.

Standing on victims, the two deities hold a vajra-handled flaying knife and a skull cup and have a horse’s head in their chignon. As is traditional in Tibet, the female’s garland is made of 50 skulls while the male’s is made of 50 freshly severed heads. They are also adorned with an elaborate five-skull crown with foliate panels on top of each skull and turquoise-inlaid jewellery. She wears a bone apron, he wears a tiger skin loin cloth.

17th century circa, Tibet, Hayagriva with Vajravarahi, gilt coper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Of Hindu origin, Hayagriva has various forms and functions in Buddhism and various consorts – the above is Vajravarahi, who has a sow’s head sticking out of her right temple. He has three heads each with three silver-inlaid eyes; six arms, with silver-inlaid bracelets; and four legs, with silver-inlaid anklets. His main hands embrace the consort and hold a skull cup and a noose. The others display a wrathful gesture to ward off evil and may have held some attributes. She holds a skull cup and probably a flaying knife.

18th century, Tibet, Hayagriva and Nairatmya, polychrome clay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Now we see him with Nairatmya, who has blue skin, one head, two arms, and wears a leopard skin skirt. He has red skin and mitre-like flaming orange hair, three heads each with three eyes, a skull crown and a horse’s head above, six hands, from which the attributes are missing, and possibly four legs. One head is red, the other white, and the third should be green. The addition of green wings on his back is an unusual feature.

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, 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, various female deities

16th century, Tibet, unidentified, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, published on http://www.castor-hara.com.

This female character in a dancing pose, possibly a retinue figure, has one head and four arms. In her upper hands she holds a skull cup and what looks like a lamp, in the lower hands she has a drum and also held an attribute (now missing) upright.

14th century circa, Tibet, 4-armed goddess, gilt copper alloy with gems, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

A one-head and four-arm deity, seated at royal ease, her lower hands doing the gestures of supreme generosity and teaching, the other hands holding a blue lotus and another attribute, possibly the stalk of another lotus. Her lower garment is decorated with stone-inlaid visvajras in the Densatil style. A flat celestial scarf acts as a nimbus.

In a very similar style, this deity has three heads and six hands, in which she holds a bow, an arrow, a parasol, a vajra sceptre, and another two objects now missing.

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.