Tibet, lamas on throne (2)

13th century circa, Tibet, Kagyu lama, brass, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This character is seated on a lotus over a stepped throne covered with a cloth and supported by two lions and decorated with a vajra sceptre and scrolls at the front.

Same, with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This lama with a powerful jaw is portrayed in a similar way but the seams of his patched robe and his vest are inlaid with silver. He sits on the same type of throne …

covered with a cloth inlaid with silver and copper.

13th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper alloy, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

These thrones supporting lamas were very popular in 13th and 14th century Tibet and often decorated with tiny coral and stone cabochons, as above. It is worth remembering that these sculptures are very small (about 9 cm for the previous two and 14 cm for this one), which makes them all the more remarkable.

13th-14th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, stone and coral, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The upper part of this throne is inlaid with silver, copper and stones; the cloth is decorated with coral and stone cabochons, and a strip of copper with a chased geometrical motif.  There is an horizontal vajra sceptre at the front of the last but one tier and some scrolled lotuses above.

The artist has used silver for the eyes and the beaded seams of the clothes, and copper for the seams and the incised edges.

13th-14th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Here there is an upright vajra sceptre at the front and incised diamonds around the upper edge, no metal or stone inlay.

14th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy with copper and stone inlay, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Yet another style, with two lions and a yaksha on a cut-out background, the columns and rims decorated with incised and copper-inlaid geometrical shapes and stone-inlaid visvjaras. The copper hem on the lama’s robe has a stippled floral motif. He sports a very ostentatious hat painted with pigments.

Pakistan, 7th c. buddha on lion throne

7th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, historical buddha Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection.

7th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, historical buddha Shakyamuni, bronze, private collection.

Few sculptures from the Swat Valley area have reached us with their back panel intact. This one  shows the sun behind the buddha’s head and some serrated flames all along the outer edge. The buddha, represented in the Kashmiri style,  is seated on a throne over a single-lotus base with pointed petals. The throne is supported by two lions with a curly mane. The fur on their chest is decorated with incisions and a has parting in the middle. The way the lions are represented (also common in Gilgit), the back panel, and the use of dark bronze differentiate such statues from those worshipped in Kashmir.

 

Kashmir, two 8th c. buddhas on lion throne

8th century, Kashmir, buddha Shakyamuni, brass, silver-inlaid eyes, at the Harvard Art Museums

8th century, Kashmir, buddha Shakyamuni, brass, silver-inlaid eyes, at the Harvard Art Museums.

Here the throne is supported by a yaksha at the centre and two lions on the sides. Below, the cushion is more elaborate, in the Gilgit style, and the throne is supported by a yaksha, two lions and what looks like two mythical creatures called viyalas.

private collection.

private collection.

 

 

Kashmir, a buddha on lion throne

9th century, Kashmir, buddha Shakyamuni, brass with silver inlay, published by Rossi.

9th century, Kashmir, buddha Shakyamuni, brass with silver inlay, published by Rossi.

This is a rare and well preserved statue that represents the historical buddha sitting on a throne supported by two lions and a yaksha (nature spirit), with two deer and a dharma wheel at the front of the plinth, complete with flaming arch or mandorla topped with a stupa. He is wearing a robe that covers both shoulders and a long dhoti.

Western Tibet, Manjushri on lion throne

12th century circa, Western Tibet, bodhisattva Manjushri, brass, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

12th century circa, Western Tibet, bodhisattva Manjushri, brass, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This is a most curious statue of Manjushri, identified through the sword in his right hand and the blue lotus flower in his left hand. The proportions of the body are graceful and his face is well made but the two creatures supporting the throne look almost like gremlins. He is sitting on a cushion covered with a tiger skin and with tassels imitating much earlier Kashmir and Swat Valley thrones. His long dhoti is made of  incised bands with geometrical patterns and held in place by a beaded belt. His diamond-shaped navel matches his pendant and earrings. The double mandorla, typical of 11th-12th Western Tibet, is strengthened at the back with a small bar of metal. There is no urna on his forehead but a jewel at the front of his small foliate crown. The roundish bows sticking out on the side of his head match a scallop-shaped adornment at the top of his head. The face has been painted with cold gold and the hair with lapis lazuli powder, according to the Tibetan custom. What first appears to be a sacred thread across his chest  looks in fact like as snake.

Kashmir, 7th c. triad

7th century, Kashmir, historical buddha Shakyamuni and bodhisattvas, bronze with silver inlaid eyes and urna, private collection, published by Rossi&Rossi

7th century, Kashmir, historical buddha Shakyamuni and bodhisattvas on throne, bronze with silver inlaid eyes and urna, private collection, published by Rossi&Rossi.

Not often do we get a chance to see such an old sculpture complete with its back panel. Here the buddha is flanked by Avalokiteshvara Padmapani (holding a long-stemmed lotus) to his left, and Maitreya (holding a water pot) to his right. He is sitting on a cushion, over a  lion throne supported by a yaksha (sort of giant). His pleated garment with concentric folds covers one shoulder and arm, the tail end is arranged into a semi-circular shape in front of him. Behind the smaller figures we can see two columns with a halo of thick beading topped with a sun and moon. The central part of the back panel is shaped rather like a key-hole and the halo is decorated with half a lotus flower, above the head of the buddha, and some spiky flames which are sculpted rather than incised.