Tibet, Shakyamuni seated (8)

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (copper alloy) with silver and copper inlay, cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This remarkable sculpture of the historical buddha depicts him with a tall conical chignon topped with an equally conical lotus bud finial, almost as if to reach the sky.

His face and neck are painted with cold gold and pigments, the hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder, adding warmth to his facial features. The eyes are inlaid with silver. The piece of robe folded over his left shoulder reveals an incised pattern.

His delicates fingers were cast separately. The nails are inlaid with copper, the hem of his garments is inlaid with silver and copper. A tiny vajra sceptre is placed before him.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass with copper-inlaid lips and silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Although thousands of metal sculptures depicting Shakyamuni have been produced in Tibet, each one has specific features that makes it unique.  Here, the eyebrows form a single wavy line. His dhoti has a thick waistbandHe has an elongated neck with deep folds. The cloth over his shoulder is folded into a single narrow piece.

13th-14th century, Southern Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt metal, private collection, photo by Tenzing Asian Art.

This buddha’s slender waist, broad shoulders and big limbs, small rosettes over his ears, black pigment in his hair and tear-shaped urna on his forehead are (almost certainly) the work of a Nepalese artist. The hem of his clothes is decorated with an incised pattern and thick beading, the folds of the robe over his left shoulder are complemented by a highly original floral or raining-jewel pendant. A wheel of dharma is embossed on the sole of each foot.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with silver beaded rim, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The use of rich gilding and stone inlay seems a contradiction with the patchwork robe worn by the historical buddha as part of his vow of poverty, but this was the style favoured by Newari artists, often commissioned by Tibetan patrons during the early Malla period. The seams on the above sanghati are made of silver beading, the hem is incised with a rice grain pattern, one end forms two layers of pleats over his left shoulder.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Lempertz.

A curious figure with heavy eyelids and thick lips, incised hair curls, flat chignon topped with a flat finial. His transparent sanghati has a plain, thick hem, one end of the garment forming two foliate shapes over his left shoulder.

Undated (Pala Revival), Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in  Stockholm (Sweden).

 

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Tibet, Shakyamuni seated (7)

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Marchance.

The fleshy face with a wide gaze combined with a dark metal alloy recalls earlier Swat Valley works. The figure is seated on a double-lotus base with a petal design typical of (circa) 13th century Tibetan sculptures.

The hem of the sanghati is inlaid with copper only at the front.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This buddha with elongated limbs has silver-inlaid eyes, copper inlaid lips,  blue pigment in his hair. His chignon is like a truncated-cone topped with a large lotus bud finial.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy and pigment, private collection, photo by Koller.

The use of fire-gilding(widely used in Nepal by the 13th century but not by Tibetan artists), black pigment for the hair, red paint on the plinth, indicate that this was (almost certainly) made by a Newari artist for a Tibetan patron. The shape of the lotus bud finial on his head is unusual.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, cast in one piece, private collection, published on http://www.seercn.com.

This buddha with a large head and Tibetan facial features has a curl of hair on his forehead (urna). The hem of his garments is decorated with beading. One end of the sanghati is folded like a fishtail over his left shoulder.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Here we can clearly see that the head has been cast separately, which usually explains its large size compared to the body. The hem of his robe is decorated with an incised and stippled pattern.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Many brass sculptures worshipped in Tibet, and particularly in Lhasa, have had their face painted with cold cold and pigments, and their hair dyed with blue pigment – usually lapis lazuli powder- but not necessarily at the time they were made.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni,  is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The individuality of each piece is perceptible in every detail, even the shape of the hair and the lotus bud on the chignon.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt metal, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, same as before.

The cold gold is also applied on the neck and the lotus bud finial.

Tibet, Shakyamuni seated (6)

13th century or earlier, Central Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, cold gold, copper and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

This remarkable sculpture – which depicts the historical buddha in the traditional manner- is full of interesting features such as the silver-inlaid nipple, the delicate fingers with copper-inlaid nails, the extremity of the robe only partly showing on his left shoulder, the association of silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips with cold gold over the face and neck and black (instead of blue) pigment in the hair.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass, private collection, photo by Koller.

This tiny buddha (8 cm tall) was almost certainly made for a portable shrine. His face is worn after centuries of devotion.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, black stone, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This large item (50,8 cm) has been sculpted with great care on both sides. The hem of the finely pleated sanghati is decorated with scrolls. Shakyamuni is seated on a single lotus with broad petals going upwards.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass, at the sNye thang monastery, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Here, the accent is not on the garments, which have a barely defined hem, but on the face, painted with cold gold and pigments (possibly at a later date), and the richly decorated lotus base and back panel.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A small Pala-style brass figure, with the body slightly leaning to one side, the chignon topped with a large finial that accentuates the pyramidal effect of the composition.

Tibet, Shakyamuni – bhumisparsha mudra (2)

12th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, bronze with pigment, circular nimbus missing, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

On this rare and early sculpture, the chignon of the buddha is shaped like a lotus finial. The hem of his diaphanous garments (the dhoti much longer than the robe) is marked with incisions, there is no cloth folded over the left shoulder.

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

Another, more standard, Pala-style work, with thick folds of cloth fanning over the lotus base, and an extremity of the garment neatly arranged over the left shoulder.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

A large majority of Tibetan metal sculptures depict the historical buddha at the moment of enlightenment, his right hand calling Earth to witness, the left hand cupped in the gesture of meditation.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy (brass) with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This item illustrates the high degree of craftsmanship acquired by Tibetan artists many centuries ago.

The face of the buddha has been painted with cold gold and his hair dyed with blue pigment, probably lapis lazuli powder. One extremity of his outer garment is arranged in a swallow-tail shape over his left shoulder.

The back of the statue elegantly draped, and with lotus petals all around the base.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper and pigment, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The  triangular face and the use of black pigment in the hair are the ‘signature’ of a Newari artist working in Tibet, confirmed by the use of pure copper.

Circa 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, white sandalwood, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

The shape of the lotus petals on this rare work is very similar to those on the first sculpture in this post. The plinth is decorated with scrolls and there is a blue lotus on each side of the nimbus behind the buddha’s head.

Early 13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips, nails and hem. Private collection, photo by Boran Asian Art, published on http://www.boranasianart.com.

The broad hem on the robe of his buddha (identified by the dharma wheels on the sole of his feet) is decorated with an incised and stippled geometrical pattern.

 

Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru (6)

Possibly 13th-14th century, Tibet or India?, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This Pala-style figure depicts the most popular of the eight medicine buddhas, seated with his legs locked, his right hand palm out to hold an arura fruit (missing here), the left hand in the meditation gesture and supporting an object, normally a medicine bowl (which has often lost its lid or perhaps never had one). The hem of his robe is decorated with a small triangular pattern imitating sun rays.

Circa 14th century, Tibet or Nepal, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

The Nepalese style includes rich gilding, a lower pedestal and during the 13th-14th century buddhas may have rosettes above their ears. The use of copper alloy rather than copper and blue instead of black pigment in the hair points to a Nepalese artist in Tibet.

18th century, Tibet, Bhaisajyaguru, copper alloy with traces of cold gold, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This late work illustrates changes in the way buddha’s garments are worn.

Described as a lotus and a skull cup, his attributes are in fact a long-stemmed arura fruit in his left hand (whose palm is engraved with a lotus within a diamond shape, matching the lotuses on the hem of his robe) and a bowl in his left hand.

Tibet, Vajrasattva – various forms

Circa 14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, brass with  turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

In his peaceful form, Vajrasattva may be seated or standing. When seated he holds a vajra sceptre in his right hand at heart level, often upright, and a bell in the other against his hip. The thin celestial scarf forming a frame around the subject is typical of a group of metal sculptures attributed to 13th and 14th century Tibet.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

A rare sculpture of the deity in his heruka form, seated in embrace with his consort and holding the attributes in the same way as Vajradhara would.

Bonhams point out that it is the sharp facial expression on his face that distinguishes him from the latter. (The fact that she holds the same attributes is another clue: Vajradhara’s consort would hold a vajra sceptre  and a skull cup).

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

Peaceful, with the consort.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Vajrasattva and consort, heruka form, brass with cold gold and pigments, is or was at Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

An extremely rare brass sculpture of the wrathful form of this buddha, with his consort. He holds the vajra sceptre upright before his heart and the bell against his hip, clad in  a tiger skin loin cloth and adorned with snakes, including a long one worn as a sacred thread. She wears a leopard skin, holds a knife and a skull cup and is adorned with snakes. Their face is painted with cold gold and pigments, their hair dyed with orange pigment. The stand on a double-lotus base complete with flaming mandorla.

Tibet, Vajradhara – alone (10)

14th-15th century, Tibet or Nepal, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy, gilt copper, stone inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Vajradhara, his hands doing the ‘turning the wheel of dharma’ gesture, is identified by the attributes (vajra sceptre and bell) on the lotuses fastened to his elbows.

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

More often he holds the attributes in his hands crossed over his heart.

The above wears a long lower garment delicately engraved with a floral motif and a shawl over his shoulders.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Here, the ornate silk garment is held in place with a belt with raining jewel pendants that rest over his legs.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, bronze, private collection, photo by Marchance auctioneers.

16th century, Tibet, Vajradhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Galerie Hioco.