Tibet, seated Maitreya – with legs pendent (3)

12th century, Tibet, Maitreya, bronze (brass, traces of cold gold on the skin), private collection, photo on Apsarah 

Maitreya is depicted as the future buddha, his hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘, his legs pendent, the feet placed on a single lotus fastened to the plinth. When seated this way he may hold a champaka flower or a branch from a champaka/naga tree.

15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt bronze with turquoise, private collection, photo on Beaussant-Lefèvre   .The corners of this throne are decorated with diamond symbols inlaid with turquoise.

16th century, (Tibeto-Chinese?), Maitreya, copper with turquoise and coral inlay, private collection, photo on Ethereal.

Maitreya’s garments and his throne are decorated with various stippled and incised motifs. His feet rest on a projecting platform embellished with large turquoise-inlaid flowers at the front.

16th century, Tibet, Maitreya, bronze with cold gold and turquoise, private collection, photo on Art d’Asie, Christie’s.

Some wheels of dharma incised at the front of this throne are showing on each side of the voluminous folds of Maitreya’s garments. The platform below is decorated with a chased rice-grain and floral pattern and the plinth has a lotus bud in each corner.

16th-17th c., Tibet, Maitreya, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s

Maitreya in his bodhisattva appearance, holding the stem of flowers that support a wheel (to his right) and a ritual water pot (to his left). He wears Chinese-style accessories including delicate beaded necklaces, large wheel and floral pendant earrings, matching armbands and bracelets.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Maitreya, copper alloy with cold gold and turquoise, photo on Millon.

Maitreya with a stupa finial on his chignon and a ritual pot on the blue lotus to his left.


Tibet, Wrathful Vajrapani (14)

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze, private collection, photo by Nagel, sale 736 China 4.

Chanda Vajrapani, brandishing a vajra sceptre in his right hand and doing a threatening gesture with the other while holding a (missing) lasso, adorned partly with snakes and partly with princely accessories including a five-leaf crown.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze (brass), private collection, on Christie’s

14th century, Tibet (or later copy?), Vajrapani, gilt bronze with cold gold and pigment, private collection?, photo on GG-ART

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s, published in ‘The Buddhist Deity Vajrapani’ by Gouriswar Bhattacharya on Academia.eduThis one wears a tripartite crown with a large floral design and wide bows, bulky jewellery, a sacred cord, small snakes around his wrists and ankles.

16th century, Tibet, Canda Vajrapani, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Shirley Day Ltd, same publication as before.

The author of the article points out that on this image Vajrapani has one foot on a snake and the other on a human victim. Also, the long snake used as a sacred thread goes over his right shoulder (on early works it is usually over the left shoulder but on the first picture and on the next one it is also worn over the right shoulder). Among his princely jewellery we will note the cross-belt with a central flower and ‘raining-jewel’ pendants.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy and pigments, photo by Capriaquar on Academia Edu .

18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani (labelled Mahakala), bronze with traces of lacquer and pigment, private collection, photo by Beaussant-Lefèvre, Arts d’Asie 2016.

Late Tibetan sculptures of wrathful deities are often in the Chinese style, with a much fiercer look, bushy eyebrows, pointed fingers and toes, sharp flaming hair, a flat scarf with serpentine ends, and the tail of the tiger skin dangling at the front.

13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze, private collection, photo on Eddie’s Auction

Wrathful Vajrapani with a tripartite hair bunch – see the new page in the ‘comparing works’ section of this blog in the left-hand margin-  and a bell in his left hand.

18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy with pigment), private collection, photo on Artcurial .

Vajrapani with an upturned bell in his left hand, crushing a single victim with a human appearance.

Nepal, devotees

16th-17th century, Nepal, donor queen, gilt copper, private collection, photo on Michael C. Hughes  

A rare sculpture of a female donor bedecked with jewellery, half crouching and half kneeling, her right hand bestowing refuge (tip of the ring finger pressing tip of the thumb), the other holding a bowl as an offering to a deity. The sculptures of Malla queens seen previously didn’t include a crown or a half-vajra finial, this looks more like an attendant deity (or a deified queen as suggested by Mr Hughes).

17th century, Nepal, Sri Muni Vajracharya, gilt copper alloy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art  in New York (USA).

An inscription on the back gives us the name of the worshipper and tells us that he is making the offerings (a lamp and a ewer) to Avalokiteshvara.

Circa 17th century, Nepal, donor, copper alloy, private collection, exhibited at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, photo on Alain Truong 

The coppery colour of the metal together with the softness of the face and roundness of the limbs recalls a (much earlier) donor figure from the Khasa Malla kingdom seen on this blog.

18th century, Nepal, king Bhupatindra, bronze (gilt copper alloy), private collection, photo on Hardt 

We have seen Bhupatindra as a clean-shaven young man, kneeling and holding his hands before his heart in much the same way, we now see him as a mature man with a moustache and a large urna on his forehead, adorned with just a necklace.

18th century, Nepal, worshippers, bronze, oil lamp, private collection, photo on Hardt, sale 03.

One of many Nepalese ritual lamps to burn ghee,  featuring a couple of devotees dressed in heavy garments. The man is kneeling, she is half kneeling-half crouching.

Late 18th century, Nepal, bronze (copper alloy with traces of gilding), female royal donor from a shrine, private collection, photo on Dreweatts 

The small size (8,5 cm) of this female devotee suggests that she was made for a portable shrine, as suggested by the auctioneer, and she may have been accompanied by a kneeling male partner.

Late 18th or early 19th century, Nepal, donor, gilt copper, possibly part of a royal couple set, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

Nepal, wooden Tara

14th century, Nepal, Tara, polychrome wood, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Many polychrome wooden figures were made in the Kathmandu Valley during the Malla period, including various forms of Tara. She is often bare-bosomed and wears a long lower garment with bands of red and yellow cloth with a black motif, and a cloth belt. On most early Malla works her smooth black hair is combed back and her only item of jewellery is a pair of wheel-like earrings. When her right hand does the fear-allaying gesture its palm is painted red.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Kathmandu Valley, Tara, polychrome wood, private collection, photo on Jean Gauchet .

An example with a five-leaf crown with rosettes and ribbons.

15th century, Nepal, Tara, wood with polychromy, private collection, photo on Huntington Archive  .

From the same atelier as a Brhkuti Devi seen previously, this Tara also wears a sash.

16th century, Nepal, Tara, polychrome wood, private collection?, photo on WRA

During the later part of the Malla period (16th-18th century) her accessories usually include  a crown, a short V-shaped necklace and a long string of beads, armbands, bracelets and anklets. This figure and the next one hold the stem of a blue lotus in each hand.

17th century, Nepal, Tara, wood, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA) photo on Art summary.

She sometimes wear a tight-fitting bodice.

16th century, Nepal, Tara, wood with traces of polychromy, at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, photo by Daderot on  Commons Wikimedia 

17th-18th century, Nepal, Tara, polychrome wood, private collection, photo on Bonhams.

A Chinese-style version with a silk scarf or shawl, a belt with a large floral motif, the right hand doing the gesture of debate, the other bestowing refuge.

17th-18th century or earlier, Nepal, possibly Syamatara (Green Tara), wood, private collection, photo on Lempertz .

Mongolia, a few portraits (5)

17th century (Mongolia?), Padmasambhava, zitan wood (red sandalwood) with gilding and lacquer, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s .

A rare wooden image of ‘Guru Rimpoche’, holding a vajra sceptre pointing to his heart and a skull cup traditionally containing nectar, jewels and a long-life vase, topped with a lotus flower in this case. His lotus hat  is topped with a half-vajra and a (missing) vulture feather. The multiple layers of lobed petals on the lotus base is a recurrent design in Mongolia and Bhutan.

17th-18th century (or later?), Mongolia, Padmasambhava, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo on  Arman Antiques  .

As a layman, he always has both arms covered and usually wears a cloud-shaped cape over his shoulders.

16th-17th century, Mongolia, Atisha, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the British Museum (London, UK).

The Indian scholar is nearly always depicted with his hands in the teaching gesture (‘turning the wheel of dharma‘). He wears a pointed hat with long lappets and monastic garments that leave the right arm bare. The lotuses that were once fastened to his arms probably supported a stupa and a vase.

18th century, Mongolia, Tsongkapa, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Je Tsongkhapa is represented as a deified lama, holding the stem of lotuses that support the hilt of a sword and a manuscript. He wears fine Chinese silk garments and sits on a Yongle-style lotus base.

18th century, Mongolia, Je Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Kapoor Galleries .

18th century, Mongolia, Tsongkhapa, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Bukowskis.


Nepal, seated buddhas (3)

11th century, Nepal, Amitayus, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Amitayus is seated on a brocaded cushion atop a lion throne decorated with brass-inlaid half moons. He is adorned with a tripartite foliate crown with wavy ribbons, large floral earrings and matching armlets, a sash decorated with incisions and tightly pulled across his thin waist, a necklace with three claw-like pendants (associated with Manjushri but not exclusive to him), and a calf-length dhoti with a chased geometrical pattern, all very similar to a 10th-11th century Nepalese Amitayus seen previously.

14th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt bronze with stone inlay, private collection, photo on AJ Speelman .Malla-period metal sculptures are normally gilt and the accessories are decorated with stone cabochons.  On early works a multitude of tiny gems was used to decorate crowns, belts, jewellery, and even the extremities of scarves and the folds of the dhoti that fan out over the base.

16th-17th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection , photo Rémy Lefur et Associés.

On this late-Malla statue fewer and larger stones have been used, the buddha’s hair and his vase of longevity are topped with a lotus supporting a round jewel.

Circa 7th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, copper with gilding, private collection, photo by Ulrich von Schroeder in an article by David Weldon on  jstor 

A rare Licchavi image of the historical buddha with a small almond-shaped halo decorated with a row of flames curling inward, a row of beading and a star-shaped central structure. The seam of his transparent robe is barely visible across his chest.

13th century, Nepal, Gautama, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

During the Malla period the cloth gathered under the buddha’s ankles is often carefully pleated in a scallop shape. The low hairline going straight across the forehead and the small conical chignon are typical of the place and period. His outer garment covers the left arm completely and a tiny piece is folded like a fishtail over his left shoulder.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Circa 1600, Nepal, Shakyamuni, painted clay, Patan (Nepal), photo by Ulrich von Schroeder in Nepalese Stone Sculptures, Volume 2.

17th century, Nepal, Vajrasattva, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum in Mumbai (India), photo on Photodharma

Vajrasattva is one of the few buddhas who may be seated with a leg pendent. When he holds the vajra sceptre (missing here) upright in his right hand the vajra bell in his left hand is usually upside-down, as above. His five-leaf crown symbolises the five wisdom buddhas, the half-vajra finial indicates enlightenment.

Nepal, Manjushri (2)

10th century, Nepal, Manjushri, stone, in Kathmandu (Nepal), photo in the Purandi Hoard, Mary Sheperd Slusser, on jstor .

This image, known as Manjunatha, depicts the infant Manjushri wearing a delicately incised mitre-like crown, floral jewellery and a short garment held in place with a cloth belt.

15th-16th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Bukowski

White Manjushri, his hands doing the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture while holding the stem of lotuses that support the hilt of a sword to his right and a book (the Prajnaparamita sutra) to his left.

13th-14th century possibly, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Uppsala

Manjushri brandishing a sword in his right hand and holding the stem of a blue lotus that supports his book.

Late 13th century, Nepalo-Chinese, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy with (replacement) glass inlay, private collection, photo and article on Robert Bigler .

Namasangiti Manjushri with one head and four arms, his main hands holding a sword curiously placed next to his temple and a book pressed against his heart, the other hands holding a bow and an arrow now missing, a combination identified as tikshna Manjushri by the author of the article. Indications that this piece was made in China are the crown with leaves set wide apart, the stirrup design of the necklace and belt, the curly tip of the petals on the base, the closed slanted eyes, while the helmet on his head and the ring on his finger(s) are the signature of a Newari artist. We saw this item in the Tibetan section of the blog because it was labelled ‘Tibet or Nepal’ by Bonhams and ‘Tibet’ on HAR (on the Bonhams/HAR photo there is no glass replacement).

16th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on mutualart

Presumably a non-tantric form of dharmadatu vagisvajra, this deity has six heads plus a buddha’s head (Akshobhya or Amitabha’s), two legs and 12 hands. The main ones do the dharmacakra mudra,  the remaining right hands hold a sword, a triple lotus stalk (tridanda), an elephant goad, a broken arrow. On  the other side there is a night lotus, a day lotus, a noose and a bow. The lower right hand does the gesture of supreme generosity, the lower left probably held a book.

18th century, Nepal, Namasangiti Manjushri, gilt bronze and turquoise inlay, private collection, photo on Hardt .

A late example of the Mayajala tantra form of Manjushri, with one head and twelve hands, specific to Nepal. There is a half-vajra finial on his chignon and Kirtimukha at the front of his crown.The top hands are held above the head with two fingers folded, the middle and forefinger touching at the tip and one thumbs pressed against the other, to symbolise Mount Meru and Vajrasattva. The two pairs of hands at shoulder level do the gesture of debate and normally hold various implements including a book. The main hands held palm out before his chest symbolise Vairocana, the above display a lotus within a diamond embossed on each palm. The hands below are held down to sprinkle ambrosia into the bowl below. The lower hands do the meditation gesture and support the bowl.

18th century, Nepal, Dharmadhatu Vagisvajra, gilt metal, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum in Mumbai (India), photo by Anandajoti Bhikkhu  on Photodharma .

In Nepal, this form of Manjushri with four heads and six to eight hands often has his consort seated on his left thigh. On this example his main hands do the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture, in which case the upper right hand would normally hold a sword, not a rosary. The middle hands hold a bow and an arrow, the upper left hand holds a manuscript, the lower hands are supposed to hold a vajra sceptre and a bell (not visible here).