Pala India, a few wrathful deities (2)

12th century, India, Achala, copper alloy, private collection, published on http://www.pundoles.es

Half kneeling and half crouching, Achala wields a sword and holds a lasso that hovers over his shoulder. His eyes are inlaid with copper, his fangs with silver, his tall chignon is dyed with red pigment. His leopard skin loin cloth (incised with large circles) is held in place with a heavy belt decorated with a floral buckle.

11th century, Northern India, Hevajra, brass with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Heruka Hevajra, who protects agains the demons (maras), is seen here in his one-head  version, with two hands and two legs, one of them resting on a victim, the other in the air with the knee resting on a lotus sprouting from the pedestal – an arrangement seen on Tibetan sculptures a few centuries later.

He holds a thunderbolt sceptre in his right hand, a bell (instead of the usual skull cup) in his left hand, and has a ritual staff propped against his left shoulder. His tightly-fitting leopard skin loin cloth is held in place with a festooned belt. He wears a garland of human heads.

12th century, Northern India, Hevajra, brass with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

A similar iconography, with the left hand missing, the orange paint on his hair likely to be more recent. He is accompanied by two attendant female deities.

Undated, India, Hevajra, copper alloy, private collection, Holly Auctions on Himalayan Art Resources.

Advertisements

Pala India, Hevajra

12th century, Northeast India, Heruka, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie's.

12th century, Northeast India, Heruka, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Not to be confused with Shri Heruka, who has three heads, this is the heruka Shri Hevajra in his one head+2 hand form, identified through the attributes he holds (a thunderbolt in the right hand, a skull cup in the other, a ritual staff against the left shoulder), the way he stands with one leg in  the air and the other treading on a victim (Ganapati), and the effigy of Akshobhya in his headdress. His hair is tied up in a mitre-like bunch, he wears an animal skin as a loin cloth and snakes as jewellery.

12th century, Northeast India, Shri Hevajra Heruka, copper alloy, Nyingjei Lam Collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

12th century, Northeast India, Shri Hevajra, heruka, copper alloy, Nyingjei Lam Collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

On this image he has a garland of freshly severed human heads around his shoulders.

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Hevajra, grey stone, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Hevajra, grey stone, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

Another form of the deity, with 8 heads, 4 legs and 16 hands, the main ones embracing his consort, Vajra Nairatmya, the others hold skull cups containing human and animal figures related to mantras from the Hevajra Tantra text. a visvajra (double thunderbolt) adorns his upper head (which looks more like Mahakala’s head than the other three heads).

Nepal, Khasa Malla (14)

13th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla region, Hevajra and Nairatmya, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

13th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla region, Hevajra and Nairatmya, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Standing on a double lotus pedestal with heart-shaped petals and a row of thick beading, Hevajra, with 4 legs, 8 faces, 16 arms, embraces his consort with his main hands, in which he holds an elephant and the god of the East. His other hands hold skull cups containing animals and human figures related to different mantras from the Hevajra Tantra text. Both deities are adorned with bone jewellery and festooned skull crowns. She holds a flaying knife and a skull cup and wears a festooned bone apron. He has a garland of fifty severed human heads around his neck and wears a tiger skin knotted around his waist. It is unusual for a figure, may be a devotee, to kneel under them.

13th c., Nepal, Khasa Malla, Hevajra+Nairatmya, gilt c.a., 4 legs 8 faces 16 arms, 22,8 cm, kneeling figure, delineated joints, Christie's

They stand on two victims, Ignorance and Ego. We will note the incisions to delineate the joints on their toes (and probably on the back of their hands).

13th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla region, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, published on mdauc.com.

13th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla region, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, published on mdauc.com.

On this traditional image of the historical buddha, the hem of the sanghati is decorated with an incised rice grain and beading pattern, the joints of the fingers are delineated (we have already seen two examples of incisions on the inside rather than the outside of the hand), the face is full, with a turquoise urna on the forehead and pink lips, there is a rosette on top of his ears, the latter marked with a curved incision.

14th century circa, Nepal, Khasa Malla region, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

Circa 14th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla region, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Bhaisajyaguru, one of the medicine buddha, holds a bowl of medicine in one hand and a myrobalan fruit in the other, held in the varada mudra.

14th c cir.., Nepal, Khasa Malla, Bhaisajyaguru, gilt c.a., 19,8 cm, bowl+myrobalan, back

The unfinished  back of the figure (and pedestal) coupled with the red paint indicate that the sculpture comes from the Khasa Malla region.

Nepal, Khasa Malla (11)

13th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla kingdom, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

13th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla kingdom, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

His broad shoulders, the scallop-shaped end of his garment under his ankles, the incised foliate motif on the hem are all indicators of a Khasa Malla sculpture.

13th c., Nepal, Khasa Malla, Shakyamuni, c.a., 47 cm, incised border, detail, Christie's

Another recurrent detail is the way his robe forms a curve below the uncovered breast instead of a straight line across the chest.

13th-14th century, same as before, gilt copper alloy, published by Phillip Adams.

13th-14th century, same as before, gilt copper alloy, published by Phillip Adams.

The face is often square as on most Tibetan sculptures and the eyebrows usually form a single  soft line.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla Kingdom, Hevajra,  silver with copper alloy, , published by Ian Alsop.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Khasa Malla Kingdom, Hevajra, silver with copper alloy , published by Ian Alsop.

Well-separated fleshy toes as above is also a typical feature.

Tibet, Hevajra Heruka

In this aspect Hevajra is represented alone, with one to three heads, each with three eyes, two hands usually holding a skull cup and a vajra, a staff resting on his left shoulder, two legs, one foot standing on a victim, adorned with a garland of severed heads, a skull crown, bone ornaments, his hair tied in a bunch.

14th century, Tibet, copper alloy, cold gold and pigment, photo by Christie's.

14th century, Tibet, copper alloy, cold gold and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

11th-12th century, Tibet, copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

11th-12th century, Tibet, copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

On the above sculpture he stands on various victims piled up on the lotus base.

Tibet, Shri Hevajra

Hevajra is meditational deity who has several forms. Most sculptures depict him in his Shri/Sri Hevajra form, with 8 faces, each with three eyes, four bared fangs, frowning brows, flaming hair topped with a double thunderbolt or visvajra, wearing a skull crown and a garland of severed heads. He stands on four legs, two in a dancing posture and two trampling a corpse each (which represent ignorance and ego). He has 16 hands, holding 16 skull cups containing human and animal figures related to different mantras from the Hevajra Tantra text. His main pair of hands embraces his consort, Vajra Nairatmya (who holds a flaying knife and a skull cup) and holds skull cups containing the god of Earth and an elephant. The other skull cups on the left hold the god of water, the god of fire, the god of art, the god of the Moon, the god of the Sun, Yama, and on the right they hold a horse, a donkey, a bull, a camel, a human being, a deer, a cat (or an owl).

13th century, Tibet, Hevajra, bronze, photo by Christie's.

13th century, Tibet, Hevajra, bronze, photo by Christie’s.

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, pigment, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

18th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, pigment, private collection on Himalayan Art Resources.

 

Tibet, 3 Hevajra and consort statues

16th century, Tibet, meditational deity Hevajra and consort, gilt copper alloy inlaid with stones, pigments, at the Musée Guimet (Paris).

16th century, Tibet, meditational deity Hevajra and consort, gilt copper alloy inlaid with stones, pigments, at the Musée Guimet (Paris).

Hevajra is represented here with eight heads, each with three eyes and adorned with a skull crown, 16 arms, two of them embracing his consort Nairâtmya, who wears a bone apron and holds a skull cup and chopper, the others holding skull cups which contain animals or hindu deities, and four legs, two of which are trampling maras or demons.  They both have a long garland of freshly severed heads. The use of gilding and stone inlay added to the graceful body movements show an influence from Newar artists from the Kathmandu Valley.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Hevajra and consort, gilt copper alloy, cold gold and pigment, private collection.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Hevajra and consort, copper alloy, cold gold and pigment, stones missing, private collection.

The absence of gilding, the use of cold gold on the face and lapis lazuli powder in the hair, the body proportions and the facial features are proper to Tibet.

17th century, at the Cleveland  Museum of Art (USA)

17th century, gilt copper alloy, pigment and stones, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA)

On paintings, Hevajra has flaming hair and a double thunderbolt or visvajra on top of his head, as can be appreciated on this sculpture.