Tibet, bearded lamas

16th century circa, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

A few (generally late) sculptures of lamas depict them with facial hair, usually a moustache, goatee and beard. The above has cold gold on his face and the details have been painted with pigments, blue for the hair, white for the facial hair. His cloak is decorated with a chased cloud pattern and a geometrical and floral border. A tiny foot shows under the abundant Chinese silk fabric. He holds a manuscript in his left hand and does the teaching gesture with the other.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Chokyi Dragpa Jungne, hollow gilt copper, at the Fondation Alain Bordier.

This Tibetan buddhist teacher sports a long curly beard that follows the jawline, no moustache or goatee.

17th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A stunning character seated on an antelope skin over a double lotus base, holding a bowl in his left hand and a vajra sceptre in the other.

His eyes and facial hair, except for the eyebrows, are made of silver. He doesn’t wear a vest and his chest would be bare but for a copper-inlaid strip, presumably a piece of material to hold his robe in place. There is a richly embroidered cloak resting over his left shoulder.

18th century, Tibet, lama, horn and paint, at the British Museum in London (UK).

This lama with a  Chinese-style beard and goatee  holds a long-life vase in his left hand.

 

Tibet, lamas and their hats

14th-15th century, Tibet, Drikung Kagyu hierarch, copper alloy with copper inlay, published on http://www.plumblossoms.com.

There is a (confusing) variety of hats associated with the Kagyu school of Tibetan buddhism.

15th century circa, Tibet, Drugpa Kagyu lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Seen from the front, the above headdresses form a tall and impressive crown-like volume.

16th century circa, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Whereas this one has peaked flaps on each side.

16th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

And this one looks half unfolded on the sides and at the front.

15th century, Tibet, Jonang lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

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The hat worn by Jonang lamas is like the Indian pandita hat but yellow. This one is richly incised all over with a floral pattern that matches the cloak.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Sakya lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

Derived from the Indian pandita hat, the standard Sakya hat is red.

17th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper alloy and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The red pandita hat is often worn like a flat cap by Tibetan scholars, and was especially associated with translators. This lama holds a long-life vase in his left hand. The rim of the base supporting the lotus on which he is seated is decorated with a very ornate chased floral pattern.

18th century, Tibet, Gelug lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This Gelug hat is quite similar to the yellow Jonang hat (The Jonang school was eventually absorbed by the Gelug school).

18th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum in London (UK).

This type of hats, with the sides upright and considerably taller than the front, topped with a lotus bud, is worn by hierarchs such as karmapas (black with visvajra at the front),  shamarpas and situpas (red with a triple gem at the front).

Tibet, lamas and their garments (3)

12th century circa, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Early Tibetan sculptures normally depict lamas with a sleeveless undergarment, an outer robe which covers the lower undergarment, and a meditation cloak usually worn over the shoulders and wrapping the knees. The above is seated on a low double-lotus base with a backplate decorated with lotus buds and topped with a triratna (set of three gems). The style of his hat originates from the Dolpo area in Nepal.

The artist has used thick beading for the edge of the backplate, incisions for the patched robe, stippling for the floral decoration on the edge of the cloak and piping for the hems.

13th century circa, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy with copper inlay on mouth, nails and hem, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The meditation cloak is pleated and has a small collar.

The hem of all the garments is often incised, with a floral or a geometrical pattern.

18th century, Tibet, Sakya lama, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Sometimes the cloak has slipped off the lama’s shoulders and is piled up around him. We will note the waist of the lower garment showing, and the long strands of plaited hair.

14th-15th century, Tibet. lama, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This lama doesn’t wear a cloak, his patched robe covers his legs down to the ankles. Traditionally, the right arm is left bare. He does the turning-the-wheel-of-dharma gesture with his hands.

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

As fashion evolves, the pleats of the lower garment gathered under the breast begin to show slightly under the outer robe around the 15th century.

15th-16th century, Central Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Resources.

17th century, Tibet, lama, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

At times, the waist of the garment, pleated and held in place with a belt, shows completely.

 

 

 

Tibet, Karmapas (4)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Karma Pakshi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The 2nd karmapa wears plain monastic clothes and the (black) hat of the Kagyu order. The absence of gilding and the fact that the waist of his lower garment isn’t visible help date the piece.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Karmapa 2, gilt copper alloy, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

After the 15th century, part of the waist of the lower garment shows (over the vest and under the robe, at chest level) and the clothes often have an incised hem.

17th century, Tibet, Karmapa 9, Wangchuk Dorje, copper alloy (labelled ‘silver’) and gilding, at the Liverpool Museum (UK).

This karmapa, with different facial features and no goatee, holds a manuscript in his left hand. He sits on an embroidered cushion covered with a cloth.

17th century, same as before, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The same man wearing fine garments with an incised foliate pattern.

 

Tibet, various mahasiddhas (7)

Mahasiddha Kukkuripa, Tibet, undated, metal, at the Capital Museum in Beijing (China).

Kukkuripa is seated in the vajra position, stroking his little dog, who is standing on his lap, and holding a vajra-tipped stick in his left hand. He is adorned with a five-skull crown with long flowing ribbons, princely jewellery once inlaid with stones, including large floral disc earrings, a beaded cross belt and a belt with ‘raining jewel’ pendants.

 

15th-16th century, Tibet, bronze, Mahasiddha Catrapa, at the Power House Museum in Sydney (Australia).

Catrapa normally carries a manuscript (lost here) in one hand.

18th century, Tibet, Mahasiddha, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and blue pigment, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This tantric practitioner holds a drum made of two skullcaps (damaru) in his right hand and a skull cup in the other.

 

 

Tibet, Mahasiddha Kanha (2)

16th century, Central Tibet, Mahasiddha Kanha, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The Indian adept, also known as Krishnacharya, holds a skull cup in his right hand and does a pointing gesture with the other.

18th century, Tibet or Himalayan region, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay and pigments, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

He normally holds the skull cup in his left hand and may do the teaching gesture with the other, as above. He is seated on a double lotus base with a petal design often seen on Bhutanese works (but not exclusively), his left foot resting on a lotus fastened to the rim. He is adorned with a five-skull tiara, large hoops and turquoise-inlaid accessories.

His facial features are painted with pigments and the hair dyed blue.

Same, gilt brass (copper alloy) and cold gold, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Like other Indian masters or siddhas  who have founded or taken part to the foundation of a Buddhist school in Tibet, he may be depicted wearing the full Tibetan monastic attire. We see him here holding a manuscript in his left hand and wearing felt boots.

 

Tibet, Mahasiddha Naropa (2)

Mahasiddha Naropa (probably), undated (15 or 16th century), Central Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

There are several iconographies for this Indian adept, one of them depicts him with a mahasiddha appearance, holding a human hide stretched across his back, as above.

17th century, Mahasiddha Naropa, rhinoceros horn, at the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, photo by Nik Douglas.

Alternatively, he may be seated in a relaxed posture on a lion skin, holding a skull cup filled with nectar. The other hand  may display various gestures (in this case, bestowing refuge, ). This sculpture and the one below are part of two different sets of mahasiddhas.

18th century, same, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

On this example, he extends his right hand palm out in the gesture of supreme generosity.