Tibet, Vajradhara alone – (13)

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This buddha has a three-tier chignon topped with a half-vajra finial. He wears a silk shawl with a lotus motif and an embroidered hem, even the back of his necklace and belt are inlaid with turquoise. The rim of the lotus base is decorated with a chased floral patter except at the back, where an inscription in Tibetan can be seen.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The personal touch of the artist is expressed here through the loops of the celestial scarf shaped like sprouting lotuses.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, brass with turquoise and paint, private collection, photo by Bonham’s.

On this Chinese-style sculpture with voluminous drapin, red paint has been used for the ribbon and side bows of the crown.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, brass, private collection, photo by Navin Kumar.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Castor Hara.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze with stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze (copper alloy with traces of gilding), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.Note the long strands of individually shaped curls that come half way down the forearm of this dynamic figure.

18th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke.

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Tibet, various wrathful figures

11th century (or later?), Western Tibet, wrathful male, polychrome clay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Probably a retinue figure, this angry personage with three eyes, red hair, a green body, wears a tiger skin loin cloth and a garland of flowers, his attributes are missing.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Damcan (Dorje Legpa), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke.

Dorje Legpa with one head, three eyes, two hands, riding a goat, wearing a silk cloak, a cane hat and felt boots. He has both arms stretched and wields a vajra sceptre in his right hand and a (missing) human heart in the other.

18th century, Tibet or Nepal, Pehar, Monbuputra aspect, bone, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (USA).

Monbuputra, the body aspect of Pehar, has one head, two hands, and rides a white lioness. He brandishes a vajra sceptre in his right hand and holds a danda staff (or a sabre) in the other.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Buddhakapala? (labelled Buddakepala), bronze with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Each with one head, three eyes, two hands, the couple stands in a dancing pose, one foot on a victim. She is naked and holds a flaying knife and a skull cup. Buddhakapala normally has four arms, the main hands holding a flaying knife and a skull cup, the upper arms holding a drum and a staff. The above holds a vajra sceptre and a skull cup. He wears the flayed skin of a human over his back.

Guru Dragpo, Tibet or Nepal, 18th century, bone, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (USA).

This wratfhul form of Padmasambhava always holds a scorpion in his left hand and a vajra sceptre in the other, he stands on two victims and has the hide of an elephant on his back.

Undated, Vajravidarana, Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

A semi-wrathful form of Vajrasattva, Vajravidarana may have three eyes and be semi-peaceful, holding a visvajra at heart level and a bell against his hip.

14th-15th century, Western Tibet, Bhairava as a trampled victim from a Chakrasamvara shrine, painted clay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Bhairava is a wrathful male Hindu deity who regularly appears in Tibetan art as a victim representing the ego. He is often paired with his female counterpart, Kalaratri, who represents ignorance.

Tibet, Mahakala – various forms (2)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mahakala, bronze (brass) with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

Mahakala in his panjarnata form, with one head and two hands, in which he holds a skull cup and flaying knife while supporting a danda stick across his arms, squatting on Ganapati, adorned with a garland of severed heads, a snake worn as a sacred thread, snake and bone ornaments, and wearing a tiger skin loin cloth. 

15th-16th century, Tibet, Mahakala, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

In his four-arm (chaturbhuja) form, seated at ease on a lotus base, the main hands holding a skull cup and flaying knife before his heart, the others a flaming sword and another (missing) implement.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

When the main hands are at heart level, the upper left hand usually holds a staff with a horizontal vajra sceptre across it, or a trident as above.

18th century, tibet, Mahakala, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste.

Tibetan sculptures of his six-arm (shadbhuja) form are often late Chinese-style ones, with billowing scarf and spiky flaming hair standing on his head, sharp finger tips, bushy eyebrows and beard. In most cases the main hands hold a skull cup and a flaying knife. He wears a tiger skin loin cloth and sometimes an elephant hide over his back.

18th century, Tibet, Mahakala, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

His upper hands hold a rosary of skulls and a trident or a staff, the remaining hands hold a drum and noose.

Circa 18th century, Tibet (or Sino-Tibetan?), Mahakala, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

He stands on elephant-headed Ganapati.

15th century (or later?), Tibet, Mahakala, white shadbhuja form, gilt copper with stone inlay, private collection, photo from the Huntington Archive.

In his white form (with a white body on paintings) he stands with his legs straight on two elephant-headed victims, pressing a wish-granting jewel against his heart with his main right hand, the left one sustaining a skull cup with a vase filled with jewels. The remaining right hands hold a flaying knife and a drum, the left hands hold a trident and a hook (elephant goad).

18th century, Tibet, Cintamani Mahakala, parcel-gilt bronze with pigments and turquoise, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The same form (sita cintamani Mahakala = ‘White Mahakala holder of jewels’), with a skull cup full of gems.

17th century, Tibet, Mahakala, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Drouot.

The way he sits suggests that this may be the vyaghra vahana (‘riding a tiger’) form, who holds a skull cup in his left hand and a stick tipped with a jewel (the latter missing here) in the other.

18th century, Tibet, Mahakala (labelled Yama), gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

In his three-head, six-hand, six-leg form all his arms are stretched out. The missing attributes are probably a bow, an arrow, a vajra sceptre, the remaining hands do symbolic gestures.

 

Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (4)

ALL THE POSTS ON YAMA PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN THE TIBETAN SECTION OF THIS BLOG HAVE BEEN REVISED, AND ERRORS OR IMPRECISIONS HAVE BEEN CORRECTED.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, copper alloy and pigments, private collection, published on http://www.yaijan518.com

Always without consort, the inner form of Yama Dharmaraja stands on a prostrate male buffalo (usually crushing a male victim) and holds a flaying knife and a skull cup, the latter always held before his heart.

16th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, stones (missing), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This rare sculpture shows him with his head topped with Manjushri’s (of which he is an emanation) itself topped with a jewel.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Yama and attendants, bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

He may have a human head and be depicted with buffalo-headed attendants who stand on a prostrate bull, as he usually does. In this instance one of them wields a mace and holds a lasso, like his outer from, the other holds different attributes, possibly a skull cup and a jewel, like his secret form. They all wear a tiara with five skulls, the attendants have a garland of skulls around their neck, he has a garland of severed heads. 

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, wood with traces of polychromy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Cold gold has been used here to paint Yama Dharmaraja’s facial features and accessories and to highlight his ithyphallic nature.

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The outer form of Yama holds both arms straight and has a skull-tipped mace or stick in his right hand and a lasso in the other. He stands on a buffalo who usually crushes a female victim. He is supposed to be with Yami, his sister and consort, but she is often missing, or lost, along with the male buffalo on which they stand. According to Sotheby’s, the above holds a bone trumpet.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Yama and consort, bronze with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste.

18th century, Tibet (or Tibeto-Chinese?), Yama and Yami, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Michaans Auctions.

On late sculptures he usually wears a breast plate with a ‘wheel of the law’ design.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

 

 

 

Tibet, Wrathful Vajrapani with bell

12th-13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, Nilambadhara, brass with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Marcel Nies.

In one of his most common forms, wrathful Vajrapani brandishes his main attribute and presses a bell against his left side. He is adorned with the eight snake ornaments (no skull crown and no garland of severed heads) and usually treads on an elephant-headed demon lying on snakes (Bhut Aparajita). The above wears a foliate crown, large earrings and snakes, his tiger skin loin cloth is held in place with a cloth belt. The petals on the pedestal are engraved rather than sculpted, which helps date the piece.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, photo by Hayman Himalayan Art.

A similar appearance, with two figures on the pedestal, who represent ego and ignorance.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, black stone, private collection, photo by Renaud Montméat.

In theory, he never wears a skull crown but he may have a garuda in his headdress. This one wears a five-skull tiara and there is a garuda at the top of the arch behind him.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The bell is often held upside-down.

 

 

 

 

Tibet, Vajrapani – chanda (3)

13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

Tibet has produced a large variety of wrathful Vajrapani sculptures. Apart from brandishing his main attribute, a vajra sceptre, in his canda/chanda form he holds a lasso in his left hand while doing a threatening gesture. On rare occasions, he squats rather than having one leg straight.

Undated, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, Katimari collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This one is adorned with nothing but snakes and his red flaming hair is tied with a large cobra.

15th-16th century?, Tibet, Vajrapani (labelled Achala), copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

He may have a half-vajra finial on his hair.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Polyauction.

The above has an effigy of Akshobhya in his headdress and sports curly eyebrows, moustache and beard.

Undated (circa 15th century?), Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo on HImalayan Art Resources.

Traditionally, he stands on a victim lying on a bed of snakes, here there seems to be two.

His eyes and teeth are inlaid with silver.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by 25 Blythe Road.

Like the first figure in this post, this one is squatting. His flaming hair is tied with a snake and adorned with a floral tiara.

He wears his tiger skin loin cloth with the head, the paws and the tail all dangling at the front.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This Chinese-style work depicts him with a very angry face, spiky flaming hair that stand up on his head way above the crown, and an equally spiky flaming arch behind him.

Undated (late Pala revival?), Tibet, Vajrapani, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

The tiger skin on this Pala-style sculpture is worn like a pair of shorts. We have seen early examples in the Indian section of this blog.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, parcel-gilt copper, private collection, photo by Vajragallery.

Undated (18th-19th century?), Tibet, Chanda Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the Yale University Art Gallery (USA).

Tibet, wrathful Vajrapani – Mahacakra (2)

14th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, Mahacakra, bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Mahacakra Vajrapani with three heads and six hands, a long snake in his mouth and  main hands, the top right hand wielding a vajra sceptre, clad in a tiger skin loin cloth, his flaming hair tied with a snake. He embraces his consort, who holds a skull cup and a flaying knife; she wears a leopard skin loin cloth and has a leg around his waist. The couple tread on two victims who represent ego and ignorance.

15th century (circa 1430), Central Tibet, Mahacakra Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, made by Sonam Gyaltsen, photo by Bonhams.

On this Nepalese-style masterpiece, they have black hair.

and she wears a bone apron over a silk garment decorated with a floral pattern and auspicious symbols.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, Mahacakra, gilt copper, private collection, photo by castor-hara.

Whether with his consort or alone, his main right hand does a gesture to dispel fear, the left one expresses generosity.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, possibly mahacakra, gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, photo by Xanadu.

Although one arm and the snake are missing, the position of the hands and the vajra sceptre he wields suggest this is wrathful Vajrapani in his mahacakra form.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Mahacakra Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy), at the British Museum in London (UK).