Tibet, Hevajra (5)

One of the four Guhyasamaja entities, Shri Hevajra has a bodhisattva appearance with a mixture of peaceful and wrathful ornaments and attributes.

Undated (circa 13th century), Tibet, Hevajra, brass, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

In his sahaja heruka form, he has one head with three eyes, two hands in which he holds a vajra sceptre and a skull cup, two legs, often standing on one or two victims. He wears a garland of severed heads and normally has a ritual staff in the crook of his left arm.

This Pala-style figure wears a tiger skin loin cloth that fits tightly like a pair of shorts, in the Indian fashion, held in place with a festooned belt.

Undated, Tibet, Heruka Hevajra, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

A protector against the demons (maras), heruka Hevajra always stands alone, one foot on one or several victims the other in the air (like a dakini), his hair tied in a mitre-like bunch, holding a vajra sceptre in his right hand and a skull cup in the other. The above does a pointing gesture with his left hand and has also been described as a 10th century Nepalese sculpture of Vajrapani, who normally stands on both feet. He wears a tiger skin loin cloth, snake adornments and a low tiara.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Hevajra (labelled Vajradaka), bronze, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

He normally has a ritual staff propped against his left arm, often missing from sculptures, and may wear a skull crown, bone jewellery, a garland of severed heads.

16th or 17th century, (originally labelled 13th-14th century), Guhyasamaja Hevajra, Tibet, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay and pigments, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Always in embrace with Nairatmya, Guhyasamaja Hevajra has 8 heads, each with three eyes, 16 hands in which he holds skull cups containing animals and human figures, 4 legs, in a dancing posture, two of his feet trampling four victims (Hindu gods).

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The heads may be stacked (4+3+1) or arranged in a circle of 4 at the front and 4 at the back, or 7+1 on top as is the case here. There is an effigy of Akshobhya in his headdress.

Circa 15th century, Tibet, Hevajra, bronze (brass) with silver inlay and pigments, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

Nairatmya has one head with three eyes, two legs and two hands, in which she holds a flaying knife and a skull cup. She wears a bone apron.

Possibly 15th century, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

This is an example of stacked heads. According to textual sources, the skull cups in his right hands contain a horse, a donkey, a bull, a camel, a man, a sharabha, a cat or an owl, and an elephant in the main right hand.

16th century, Tibet, Hevajra and consort, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by 25 Blythe Road.

The skull cups in his left hands contain the god of water, the god of fire, the god of art, the god of the Moon, the god of the Sun, Yama, the god of wealth, and the god of Earth in the main hand.

17th century, Tibet, Hevajra, wood, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

 

 

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Nepal, Late Malla Hevajra

16th century (1531), Nepal, Hevajra, gilt copper with pigments, is or was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (USA).

Popular in Nepal, the shastradhara form (holder of weapons) of Hevajra, in embrace with Nairatmya, has eight faces, four legs standing on two Hindu deities, and sixteen hands. In his main hands he holds a vajra sceptre and a bell across Nairatmya’s back, in the remaining right hands he holds a hook, a trident, a crescent moon, a lotus bud, a solar wheel. In the remaining left hands he holds a noose, a skull cup, a jewel, a ritual staff, a bow, a lotus flower, one of the upper hands seems to always remain empty and does a threatening gesture. On this occasion, another two gods of Hindu origin are seated on the pedestal, each holding one of his remaining feet.

Undated, probably Nepal, Hevajra, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Same form of the deity as before. The heads are arranged in a row of seven semi-wrathful faces topped with a wrathful head, sometimes described as being Bhairava’s.

Nairatmya’s bone apron is made of pearls, with turquoise and red gem cabochons that form a floral pattern.

18th century, Nepal, Hevajra, gilt metal, at Musée Guimet in Paris (France).

Nepal, early Malla – wrathful figures

14th century, Nepal, White Achala, gilt copper alloy, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

Half kneeling and half crouching, Achala brandishes a sword above his head and holds a lasso in the other hand, with the fingers doing a gesture to ward off evil.

14th century, Nepal, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy) and pigment, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

A rare Vajrapani with a human face with three eyes, holding a vajra sceptre and a skull cup, standing on two victims, wrapped in a tiger skin loin cloth (the head of the animal against his left thigh), adorned with princely jewellery studded with gems, a festooned belt, a sacred thread and a garland of severed heads, standing under an arch decorated with vajra sceptres between two rows of thick beading.

13th or 14th century, Nepal, Hevajra, kapaladhara, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Pundoles.

This meditational deity is usually depicted in embrace with a consort whose identity varies. He has several “eight-head and sixteen hand” forms, the most popular being Guhyasamaja Hevajara, who holds skull cups (kapaladhara aspect) containing animals in his right hands and skull cups containing deities in the other, his four legs standing on victims.

13th-14th century, Nepal, Samvara and Vajravarahi, gilt bronze with pigments, at the British Museum in London (UK).

Chakrasamvara, with four heads and twelve hands, embraces his consort with his main hands, in which he holds a vajra sceptre and a bell. His upper hands hold an elephant hide stretched across his back, the other hands traditionally hold a drum, an axe, a flaying knife, a vajra-handled stick to his right, a skull cup, a noose, Brahma’s head with four faces, a staff, to his left, some of them missing here.

14th century, Nepal, chaturbhuja Mahakala, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

Mahakala in his four-hand form, holding a (broken) sword in his upper right hand, a skull cup and a flaying knife in his main hands, a (broken) staff in the upper left hand, seated on a suffocating victim, his right foot placed on a lotus stemming from the base. This iconography seems to have been favoured in Nepal. In Tibet the hands are often placed differently and hold a lotus bud (or a coconut) shaped like a human heart instead of a flaying knife.

 

Pala India, Hevajra (2)

11th-12th century, India, Hevajra and Nairatmya, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This bronze represents a rare form of Shri Hevajra with 5 heads, 16 hands, 4 legs.

 

The main hands embrace his consort, the others hold flat recipients (normally skull cups) containing animals, seated figures including buddhas, a crescent moon and a sun disc.

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Hevajra (labelled possibly Vajradaka), brass, is or was at the Potala in Lhasa (Tibet), photo by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Citta Hevajra, with three angry faces, his hair tied in a fan-shaped orange bunch, has six hands in which he holds a knife and a vajra sceptre on one side, a bell and a trident on the other, the main ones embrace his consort, Vajrashrinkala, his two legs trample a victim. They wear bone aprons and are adorned with bone ornaments, skull crowns and garlands (severed heads for him, skulls for her).

In India, the trident may have a snake coiled around it.

 

Tibet, Hevajra (4)

16th century, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt copper alloy, photo from the Werner Forman Archive.

This unusual work depicts Hevajra with three heads, eight arms, two legs, in embrace with Nairatmya, who has one head and two arms. He holds a vajra sceptre and a bell in his main hands (across her back), a bow and an arrow, the hide of an elephant (only the front feet visible) and another two attributes in the other hands.

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt copper alloy with pigment, at the Indian Museum of Kolkata (India).

Most Tibetan metal sculptures depict him with eight heads, 16 hands, 4 legs, standing in embrace with the consort.

17th century, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum

17th century, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum.

He holds skull cups filled with small figures representing deities and animals (see previous post), she has one head and two hands, in which she holds a flaying knife and a skull cup. There is a variant, in which he holds ritual implements instead of skull cups.

18th century, same as before, photo from the Forman Werner Archive.

The heads are usually arranged in a circle of seven (4 at the back, 3 at the front) plus one on top, all of them with three eyes and a skull crown.

Undated, Tibet, Hevajra, private collection, photo by Holly Auctions.

The two deities stand on Black Bhairava (ego) and red Kalaratri (ignorance).

Undated, Tibet, Hevajra, at the Palace Museum in Beijing, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

 

Tibet, Hevajra (3)

When depicted in embrace with his consort,  Hevajra may have 1 to 8 heads, 2 to 4 legs, 2 to 16 hands.

15th century, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt metal, photo by Walter Arader, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

They both wear bone jewellery and skull crowns, she has a bone apron (with raining jewel pendants in this case) and a garland of skull, he has a garland of fifty severed human heads.

16th century, Tibet, Hevajra, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Nagel.

She has a leg around his waist and holds a skull cup and a flaying knife.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, at the Indian Museum in Kolkata (India), photo from the Huntington Archive.

In his guhyasamaja form, the skull cups in his left hand hold the god of water, the god of fire, the god of art, the god of the Moon, the god of the Sun, the god of Earth, Yama, the holder of wealth.

Circa 16th century?, Tibet, Hevajra, gilt copper, at the Fondation Alain Bordier in Gruyère (Switzerland).

and the skull cups in his right hands hold a horse, a donkey, a bull, a camel, a cat or an owl, an elephant, a man and a mythical creature  called sharabha (see the page on animals and mythical creatures at the top of the left hand column of this blog).

15th-17th century (closer to 17th), Tibet, Hevajra, gilt copper alloy with pigment and stone inlay, is or was at the Sakya monastery in Shigatse (Tibet), photo from the Huntington Archive.

Their hair is dyed with red pigment as is the case for most deities with a wrathful appearance.

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.