Tibet, Avalokiteshvara – seated (2)

14th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise and coral inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani (lotus bearer) form, with an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, metal, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

The bodhisattva of compassion is seated at royal ease (see the new section on leg poses added to the Hand Gestures page in the left-hand column of this blog), his right arm resting over the raised knee, the left arm placed on the lotus base. We can see the skin of an antelope over his left shoulder and an effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, two attributes of Avalokiteshvara in his padmapani form. He may have held the stem of a lotus, now missing, in his left hand.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay and pigment, private collection, photo by Koller.

This Avalokiteshvara has no effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, no antelope skin, no lotus, and no crown, yet the Khasarpana form would have matted hair cascading and both hands doing the dharmacakra (turning the wheel of dharma) gesture.  It may be that he has lost his crown or that this is a lesser known of the very many forms of this deity.

17th century, Tibet, Avalokiteshvara, also labelled ‘Male on a cow’, by Chöying Dorje, copper and cold gold, is or was in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The rosary in his right hand and the lotus in the other identify this figure as Avalokiteshvara. The very creative 1oth karmapa has given him an unusual hairstyle sometimes seen on sculptures of Tara, which consists in gathering all the hair in a bunch worn on one side.



Tibet, seated Maitreya (16)

Circa 1300, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

A richly gilt portrait of Maitreya in his bodhisattva appearance, seated at royal ease with a leg pendant, the foot resting on a lotus springing from the base, a stupa in his headdress, almost certainly made by a Newari artist from the Kathmandu Valley.

14th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt bronze (copper alloy), cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This is a more traditional image of the bodhisattva, seated in the vajra position with both hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ and holding the stem of lotuses, one of them supporting a ritual water pot. There is a stupa in his headdress. His Chinese silk garment is decorated with incisions.

15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, same as before.

On this rare image Maitreya’s chignon is topped with a vajra finial and his left hand rests over his knee while holding the stem of a plant that supports a ritual water pot. The right hand is dispelling fear.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Maitreya, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

Apart from the broken lotus which would have supported his waterpot, this is very much like a 15th century sculpture of Maitreya published in a previous post and attributed to a Tsang atelier (Central Tibet).

The eyes are inlaid with silver and there is a flaming jewel on top of his chignon.

Tibet, peaceful Manjushri – seated (7)

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

The bodhisattva of wisdom is doing the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture while holding the stem of lotuses that support a book and the hilt of a sword.

His long dhoti is decorated with fine incisions throughout and his belt is engraved with a geometrical pattern. He wears showy beaded and stone-inlaid jewellery including ankle ornaments worn over his garment.

Undated, Tibet, Manjushri, gilt metal, turquoise, lapis lazuli and coral inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A similar Newari-style image,

16th-17th century, Tibet or Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.


Tibet, Manjushri, namasangiti (4)

17th century, Tibet, Manjughosa, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Far East Asian Art.

The namasangiti form of Manjushri/Manjughosa may have 1 or 3 heads and up to 12 arms. The above has one head and four hands, in which he holds a sword and a manuscript; the missing attributes are a bow and an arrow.

Undated (circa 18th century ?), Tibet, Manjushri, namasangiti, copper alloy and cold gold, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this Pala-revival image we can see the bow in one of his left hands. The other left hand holds the long stem of a blue lotus supporting the Prajnaparamita sutra topped with a flaming jewel.

16th century, (Tibet?), Manjushri, namasangiti, silvered copper alloy with stones and coral, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara (16)

16th-17th century, Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, dark copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

Sometimes Tibetan sculptures depart from standard iconography, especially from the 16th century onwards. Instead of holding a rosary in his right hand, this Chinese-style figure holds a flower, possibly a blue lotus, which is never fully open.

18th century, Eastern Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, brass, at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada).

This one, designed to be carried in a portable shrine or amulet box judging by its  size (about two and a half centimetres), supports a manuscript in his right hand.

Same as before, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The above holds a small object in his upper right hand which Bonhams  describe as a jewel.

He wears a five-leaf crown with Chinese-style serpentine ribbons and his chignon is topped with Amitabha’s head.

18th century, Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, gilt copper with stone inlay and paint, at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (USA).

The main hands are always clasped at heart level to hold a wish-granting jewel, while the left one holds a fully-open lotus.

Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara (14)

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, brass with copper inlay, cold gold, pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This Pala-style sculpture depicts Avalokiteshvara in his four-arm form with the main hands clasped at heart level and the others holding a rosary and a lotus respectively. The hem of his long dhoti and part of his accessories are inlaid with copper.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, gilt bronze (copper alloy), traces of lacquer, private collection, Sotheby’s.

A Chinese-style version, with a loosely draped dhoti and a celestial scarf forming loops around the elbow.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshbara, gitt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

This figure has lost its attributes but the position of the hands and the large effigy of Amitabha on top of his head identify him beyond doubt.

Early 16th century, Tibet, Shadakshari Lokeshvara, gilt and silvered copper, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

A rare metal combination for this sculpture, otherwise illustrative of the way Tibetan artists mixed elements from nearby cultures and produce a typically Tibetan work.

The shawl over his shoulders and the large floral earrings are often seen on buddhas and bodhisattvas made in Tibet during the 16th century.



Mongolia, wrathful forms (2)

16th century (or later?), Mongolia, Hayagriva, gilt copper repoussé, private collection, published on http://www.buddhacollectors.com.

This is Red Hayagriva, who has three heads, each with three eyes and three horses’ heads in his flaming hair. Five of his six hands would normally hold a sword, a ritual staff, a vajra, a lasso of intestine, a spear, the other hand does a wrathful gesture. He may have 6 or 8 legs, the above has six, the right ones bent at the knee, the left ones held straight. He wears a human hide and an elephant hide over his back, a tiger skin loin cloth around his waist – the tail of the animal dangling at the front – and is adorned with snakes.

17th-18th century, Mongolia, Achala, gilt copper and painted details, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

Achala with one head, with three eyes and the upper fangs biting the lower lip;  two hands, holding a flaming sword and a lasso; 2 legs, one kneeling and the other crouching. His flaming hair is tied with a snake. He wears a tiger skin dhoti knotted at the front, the head of the animal ‘devouring’ his right knee.

Undated (17th-18th century?), Mongolia, Black Jambhala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Black Jambhala, normally ithyphallic and without earrings, stands on the elephant-headed god of wealth while holding a mongoose in his left hand and a skull cup filled with gems in the other. He wears the 8 naga ornaments (snakes) and some jewellery. The artist has given him a human face, with a thin moustache. The darker tone of the cold gold applied to the face is a feature typical of Mongolian works.