Tibet, Karmapas (6)

14th century, Tibet, karmapa, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

This endearing figure is coiffed with the lotus hat worn by Karma Kagyu hierarchs, traditionally black and decorated with a visvajra (or a lozenge representing a visvajra) on the front panel, and clouds at the side. The border of his monastic garments is incised with a wavy pattern.

16th century, Tibet, karmapa, copper with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Tessier Sarrou.

To confuse the issue, this character wears a red lotus hat associated with other hierarchs (such as shamarpas and situpas) and traditionally decorated with jewels at the front, but his displays a visvajra.

17th-18th century, Tibet, labelled ‘possibly the first karmapa’, gilt copper, private collection, photo by Castor Hara.

The first five karmapas are thought to have worn a small black cap before the black lotus hat became their headdress (see the Himalayan Art Resources page on Hats of the Himalayas). This personage wears an ornate foliate crown with rosettes and ribbons, a half-vajra finial on top of his head, beaded jewellery and a ritual apron over his ample silk garments. He holds a vajra and ghanta crossed over his heart. The sculpture probably depicts him performing a ritual ceremony.

 

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Tibet, Shakyamuni with vajra sceptre (4)

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Nagel.

The iconography is the same as for Akshobhya in his buddha appearance: the left hand cupped in meditation, the right hand touching the ground (calling Earth to witness his enlightenment). A vajra sceptre is placed before him on the lotus base.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with silver inlay and pigments, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

The above wears a patched robe with silver-inlaid seams.

The back of the robe has been given the same finish and the row of petals continue at the back of the base.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The size of the vajra sceptre varies a lot.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, brass with copper-inlaid hem,  private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Sometimes only the upper half of the attribute is showing.

Undated (circa 16th century), (Tibet), Shakyamuni, bronze and pigments, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This buddha has painted facial features and blue pigment in his hair, the hem of his sanghati is decorated with a geometrical pattern.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

The vajra sceptre here is very small yet noticeable because the lower end of the buddha’s robe is not spread over the base.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Hayman Himalayan Art.

Occasionally a thin piece of the inner garment can be seen but it is unusual for it to be incised, in this case with a fine grain pattern which contrasts with the double row of thick beading on the outer robe. The vajra is placed quite close to his feet and almost merges with the fabric.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

Undated, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt silver, published in Sattvas and Rajas, the Culture and Art of Tibetan Buddhism, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this silver sculpture the vajra is placed on the rim of the lotus base. The hem of his sanghati is decorated with a stippled and incised geometrical pattern between two rows of beading.

Undated, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Tibet, Chakrasamvara – 12 hands (7)

Undated (circa 16th century), Tibet, Chakrasamvara, gilt copper alloy with pigment and turquoise inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The visvajra and crescent moon in his headdress are features also seen on Kalachakra sculptures but the latter would have 24 hands. The above has four heads and 12 hands, in which he normally holds the hide of an elephant, a drum, a skull cup, an axe, a noose, a flaying knife, Brahma’s four heads, a vajra stick and a staff, instead of which the above figure holds a scorpion (second left hand from the top).

Undated (16th century circa), Tibet, Chakrasamvara, private collection, photo by Da Cang auctions.

Like many paired deities with a wrathful appearance, they stand on Red Kalaratri and Black Bhairava, who embody ego and ignorance.

17th century, Tibet, Chakrasamvara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Vajrayogini wears a garland of skulls, a bone apron, and holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

In some cases there is a human skull in his headdress, opposite the crescent moon.

17th century, Tibet, Chakrasamvara, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise inlay, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

He wears a garland of freshly severed heads.

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

There is a flaming jewel on top of his chignon.

Tibet, Vajrakila (2)

12th century, Tibet, Vajrakila (labelled Samvara with consort), brass with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Originally published as Chakrasamvara, this deity with four heads, each with three eyes, six arms and 4 legs is in fact Vajrakila (and labelled as such on the Himalayan Art Resources website).

He is adorned with snakes, a foliate tiara on each head, large hoops on the main one, his flaming hair is gathered in a bunch and decorated with small buddhas. His main hands are cupped to hold what was should be a kila, his other right hands hold a nine-prong vajra and a five-prong vajra…

… the left ones hold a trident and some flames, all of which correspond to Vajrakila.

He wears a garland of severed heads, they tread on two victims. Diptachakra has one head and two hands, in which she holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrakila, gilt copper alloy with stones and pigments, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

On this image two of his attributes are missing but the kila peg is visible between his main hands.

14th century, Tibet, Vajrakila and consort, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This heruka always has four legs (or a kila instead of legs),  the main left leg is always extended, the other is bent, the secondary legs are often smaller and dangling onto the lotus base.

Undated, Tibet, Vajrakila and consort, copper alloy, published in the Realm of Tibetan Buddhism, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

In the texts he is described as having a vajra finial on his chignon.

 

 

Tibet, Shakaymuni – seated (18)

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with cold gold, at the Newark Museum (USA).

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

15th-16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Mossgreen.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper and pigments, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

16th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with cold gold, private collection, photo by Koller.

Tibet, Yama (3)

15th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Yama, gilt copper alloy with pigments, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

Wrathful deities made by Tibetan artists for a Chinese patron often include heavy beaded jewellery with ornate festoons and pendants and matching accessories covering most of the subject’s body – concealing his ithyphallic nature.

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Rob Michiels.

When the sculpture is complete, Yama normally stands on a male buffalo over a victim lying on a lotus pedestal.

Apart from bone jewellery and accessories he wears a garland of severed heads. His skull crown may have three instead of five skulls.

18th century, Tibet, Yama, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this rare sculpture the buffalo, victim and pedestal are made of dark copper alloy, with traces of red pigment.

18th century, Tibet, Yama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonham’s.

When depicted alone he wields a skull-tipped club or stick in his right hand and has a lasso in the other, his hand held in the corresponding wrathful gesture.

Known as karana mudra the gesture consists in the little finger and the forefinger being erect while the tip of the middle finger presses the tip of the thumb.

18th century, Tibet, Yama, solid gold, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 

 

Tibet, Shakyamuni – seated (17)

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Koller.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy) with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on buddhist-art.info.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

15th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.