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.

 

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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.

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 (2)

In his heruka aspect Hevajra is depicted 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.