Tibet, Shri Devi (10)

15th century, Tibet, Densatil, Lhamo, copper alloy, photo by Bruce M. White on Michael Carlos Collection at the Emory University in Atlanta (USA).

This is probably Dorje Rabtenma, who sits on a prostrate kiang, brandishes a sword (of which only the hilt remains) in her right hand and holds a mongoose in her left hand (missing here). She is adorned with a skull crown, a garland of severed heads, snakes and bone jewellery. Around her are 17 deities with a yaksha appearance (9 to her right and 8 to her left), five of them seated on a prostrate kiang like her, a sixth riding a bird, the others seated in a relaxed manner on a lotus, most of them holding a skull cup and a flaying knife (see close up on Himalayan Art Resources ).

18th century, Tibet or Mongolia, Shri Devi, brass with cold gold and pigment, photo on Fondation Alain Bordier , at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

Also with 1 head and 2 hands, the popular Magzor Gyalmo rides her mount across a sea of blood, on the surface of which body parts are floating. She sits sideways, using the hide of her son as a saddle, and holds a vajra-tipped sandalwood staff in her right hand and a skull cup full of magical weapons in the other, at heart level. She is further identified by the crescent moon in her hair, the parasol on top of it, and the sun disc over her navel.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Palden Lhamo, painted stone, private collection, photo on Lot Art  .

Magzor Gyalmo, her skin blue-black, her orange flaming hair topped with a parasol.

18th century, Tibet, Shri Devi, gilt bronze with stones and pigment, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s  .

Magzor Gyalmo, adorned with a skull crown, a garland of severed heads, snakes and bone jewellery, her magical weapons tied with snakes to her kiang: a couple of dice, a bag of disease and a bundle of red curses (under her right foot), a ball of variegated wool (under her left foot), a tally stick i usually attached to her girdle.

15th century, Tibet, Shri Devi, stone with pigments, photo on Fondation, at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

Dudsolma, the four-arm form of Palden Lhamo, protectress of Tibet and patron of Lhasa, also sits sideways on a kiang (or a donkey or mule) crossing a sea of blood, using the hide of her dead son as a saddle and displaying her magical weapons. Her attributes vary but always include a skull cup in one of her lower hands. The above holds a sword and a spear in her upper hands, a flaying knife in the lower left hand.

Tibet, Shri Devi (9)

16th century, Tibet, Magzor Gyalmo, stone, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources

Among the various forms of Shri Devi the most frequently represented in portable sculpture is Magzor Gyalmo, the wrathful aspect of Sarasvati, who only has two arms. Her hair is decorated with a crescent moon, she has a sun disc on her navel, chews a miniature corpse, wields a vajra-tipped staff or club in her right hand and holds a skull cup at heart level in the other. She sits sideways on a kiang, using the hide of her dead son as a saddle, riding across a sea of blood. Her tiger skin loin cloth is held in place with snakes and the above example also wears a human hide on her back. She is adorned with a five-skull crown, a garland of severed heads and a silk scarf. Her attendants are Makaravaktra, the makara-headed dakini who leads her mount and Simhavaktra, the lion-headed dakini who follows behind.

16th century, Tibet, Magzor Gyalmo (labelled ‘Palden Lhamo’), painted stone, private collection, photo on Astamangala   

Magzor Gyalmo has five magical weapons. On this sculpture we can see a tally stick attached to her belt and a bag of disease dangling from a snake at the back of her mount.

18th century, Tibet (or China?), Shrimati, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo on Capriaquar     

18th century, Tibet, Magzor Gyalmo (labelled ‘Palden Lhamo’), gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Daguerre

On these two Chinese-style works we can see a bundle of red curses and a pair of dice at the front, below her right foot, a ball of variegated wool at the back, fastened to a snake.

18th century, Tibet, Shri Devi, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Millon

Dudsolma, a wrathful aspect of Lakshmi, has four arms. Known as Palden Lhamo in Tibetan, she is the patron of Lhasa and protectress of Tibet and the Dalai Lama. She usually holds a skull cup and a flaying knife , a kila or a spear in her main hands, a sword and another attribute in her upper hands. The latter may be a trident or a branch, but we have also seen a bow and an arrow, a scorpion or a second sword.

Ladakh, Lamayuru and Kanji

The following sculptures are at the Lamayuru monastery temple (Senge Lakhang), which was built around the 11th century. Unless otherwise stated the photos are by Kishore Tukral, published on Eva Lee Studio

Undated (circa 11th century?), Ladakh, Lamayuru, Senge Lakhang, main altar with Vairocana and the four direction wisdom buddhas, painted clay.

The age of the sculptures is unknown, some of them appear to have been repainted recently. They display Chinese-style draping (ample dhoti with soft pleating, large shawl that covers the arms) associated with the 15th-16th century onwards.

Detail of, Amitabha/Amitayus, with a red body, both hands in the meditation gesture.

Detail of Akshobhya, with a blue body, calling Earth to witness.

An inner and an outer flaming halo is sculpted around the buddhas.

Detail of Amoghasiddhi, with a green body, dispelling fear with his right hand.

Detail of  Ratnasambhava, with a yellow body, his right hand palm out.

Detail of the lion throne below Ratnasambhava.

Detail of the garuda at the top of Vairocana’s throne.

Lamayuru, (Mahakala, clad in a tiger skin loin cloth, seated on a human victim), painted clay, photo  on Christian Luczanits

Lamayuru, (Palden Lhamo, clad in a leopard skin loin cloth,  seated on her kiang), same as before.

Lamayuru, tutelary deity (seated on a snow lion), photo by Christian Luczanits here

Undated, Ladakh, Lamayuru, Mahakala, Palden Lhamo, tutelary deity, after being repainted, photo by Kishore Tukral, 2013  on Eva Lee.

Lamayuru, undated, Naropa cave,  Naropa,  possibly Taktsang Repa and Milarepa, (painted clay or wood?), photo credits unknown (Kishore Thukral or Eva Lee?) on Eva Lee

Naropa, at the back, is seated on a tiger or leopard skin and holds a skull cup in his left hand. The unidentified lama is seated on a tiger or leopard skin and holds a skull cup in his right hand. Milarepa is next to him. If this is Taktsang Repa Ngawang Gyatso, he lived from 1574 to 1651, which situates these three sculptures around the 17th century at the earliest.  Considering that the temple was destroyed at the beginning of the 19th century then rebuilt, these and the following may have been commissioned for the occasion (or later).

Undated, Lamayuru, prayer hall, Maitreya, same as before.

Maitreya does the ‘turning the wheel of the Law’ gesture with his hands.

Undated, Lamayuru, prayer hall, White Tara, same as before.

White Tara, with a third eye on her forehead and an eye in the palm of her hands and the sole of her feet, displaying the gesture of supreme generosity with her right hand and bestowing refuge with the other.

Undated, Lamayuru, prayer hall, Amitayus, same as before.

Amitayus holds a long-life vase in both hands.

Undated, Lamayuru reliquary temple, Vajradhara, same as before .

Vajradhara holds a vajra sceptre and a vajra bell in his hands crossed over his heart.

 

KANJI

According to the Achi Association the temple at Kanji and the paintings inside it are approximately 700 years old. Unfortunately, there is no information as to the age of the sculptures (see  https://www.achiassociation.org/fileadmin/Downloads/Flyer-AA-2016.pdf).

Undated (14th century or later), Ladakh, Kanji gompa altar, painted clay, before latest restoration, photo here

Avalokiteshvara, flanked by Green Tara on his left and the main medicine buddha on his right.

Ladakh, Kanji temple, altar, Avalokiteshvara, photo on  Silk Road.

Avalokiteshvara appears in his popular Shadakshari Lokeshvara form, with rosary and lotus in his upper hands. The arch painted on the wall behind him deity depicts birds and kinnaras on each side and a garuda holding a snake in its beak and hands at the top.

Ladakh, Kanji temple, altar, Medicine Buddha, photo on  Silk Road.

Bhaisajyaguru is identified by his blue body and the way his right thumb and forefinger are folded to hold an arura fruit while his left hand does the meditation gesture.

Ladakh, Kanji temple, altar, Green Tara, painted clay, photo on Silk Road.

The gesture to bestow refuge with her left hand is usually associated with White Tara. Instead of displaying supreme generosity with the other hand, she does a similar gesture but upside down.

Tibet, Shri Devi (7)

15th century, Tibet, Lhamo (Magzor Gyalmo), gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Hollywood Galleries.

A two-hand form of Shri Devi, Magzor Gyalmo, the wrathful aspect of Sarasvati, rides a khyang and holds a skull cup filled with magic substances in her left hand and a staff (missing here) in the other.

She chews a miniature corpse.

She sits on a human hide and usually carries a bag of disease, a pair of dice fastened with a snake, a ball of wool.

15th century, Tibet, (Palden) Lhamo, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Polyauction https://www.polyauction.com.hk.

Palden Lhamo, a wrathful aspect of Lakshmi, has four arms and holds various attributes, always including a sword. Her khyang may be lying down.

15th century, Central Tibet, Densatil, Shri Devi (Palden Lhamo), gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, collection of the Asia Society, photo on issuu

Circa 17th century, Tibet, Palden Lhamo, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Marie-Catherine Daffos on aaoarts

This unusual work depicts her seated on a prostrate mount, holding the hilt of a (broken) sword, a severed head, a bow. Her empty hand may have held a spear.

Mongolia, Palden Lhamo

18th century, Mongolia, Palden Lhamo and Makaravaktra, copper with lacquer and pigments, at the Liverpool World Museum (UK).

Magzor Gyalmo, a one-head and two-hand form of Palden Lhamo, identified by the sun disc over her navel, the crescent moon in her flaming hair and the (white) corpse she chews, sits sideways on a kiang or a mule led by Makaravaktra; her son’s hide is used as a saddle. She holds a vajra-tipped sandalwood staff in her right hand (missing here) and a skull cup filled with blood and a mustard seed (or magic substances) in the other, and wears a tiger skin loin cloth and other wrathful ornaments including a garland of severed heads. What looks like mountain peaks on the base is the symbol for vermilion, used to represent a sea of blood.

18th century, Mongolia, Palden Lhamo, incense paste (pulp from the bark of the incense tree, presumably) and pigments, at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The same deity, chewing a brown corpse. In Tibet, she usually wears two different earrings, one is a lion the other a snake. The above wears hoops with a foliate pendant that matches the panels of her crown.

 

Mongolia, wrathful females

17th century, Mongolia, Magzor Gyalmo, bronze (brass), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The crescent moon in her headdress and the sun disc over her navel identify this deity as Magzor Gyalmo, the wrathful aspect of Sarasvati, whose appearance is similar to that of Palden Lhamo but she only has two hands. She sits sideways on a khiang or a mule, using her son’s hide as a saddle and wears a skull crown, a garland of severed heads, a tiger skin loin cloth, bone and snake ornaments. In her right hand she wields a (missing) vajra-tipped staff and in the other hand she holds a skull cup filled with magic substances or  blood and a mustard seed.

18th century, Mongolia, Magzor Gyalmo (labelled Lhamo), parcel-gilt brass (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Hanhai auction.

The same distinctive features and the vajra-tipped staff make this figure likely to be Magzor Gyalmo, riding across a sea of blood.

18th century, Mongolia, Palden Lhamo, at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Art

This image was published in a previous post and thought to possibly depict Magzor Gyalmo because of the attributes in her two hands, and because Palden Lhamo has four hands. However, she is normally accompanied by Makaravaktra, who leads her mule, and Simhavaktra who walks behind, and she doesn’t have a crescent moon in her headdress or a sun disc on her navel. The above seems to be, therefore, a mixture of the two.

18th c., Mongolia, Makaramukha, gilt cop. rep, Dolonnor, antlers, Tibet 12938+61571 HAR

18th century, Mongolia, Makaravaktra (labelled Makaramukha), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Unlike the dakini  Makaramukha, who wears a skull crown and stands on one foot, Makaravaktra, the makara-faced attendant to Palden Lhamo, stands on both feet and doesn’t wear a skull crown. Her right arm is raised to hold the bridle of Palden Lhamo’s mount, the left hand is held against her heart.

19th century, Mongolia, Rishamukha, silver with turquoise and coral inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

A late but rare and well-crafted sculpture of this bear-headed dakini, blending Tibetan features such as the use of silver with turquoise and coral inlay with Chinese-style accessories, like the celestial scarf with very sharp bends and the dharma wheel breast plate with pendants.

Tibet, Shri Devi (5)

18th century, Tibet, Palden Lhamo, gilt copper alloy, from the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas (USA) (labelled 19th century China on Himalayan Art Resources, item 58808).

A common form of Shri Devi in Tibet, she has one head and two hands in which she holds a sandalwood staff and a skull cup; there is a sun disc over her navel; she rides a mule or a kiang sideways, using the corpse of her dead son as a saddle. She always chews a corpse. She travels across a sea of blood and is often adorned with snakes around her neck and in her hair, in this case large cobra snakes are wound around her forearms. Her mount is also adorned with snakes. She usually has a crescent moon in hair flaming hair and may carry a score stick hanging from her belt, together with a pair of divination dice threaded onto a snake that hangs from her saddle, a ball of variegated thread (hanging from the rear of her saddle) and a bag of diseases. The bag of diseases is derived from an early weapon consisting in a skin bag filled with organic remains from people who had died of a contagious disease. This was thrown into the water supply of a besieged city to poison it.

    

17th-18th century, Tibet (or Mongolia?), Palden Lhamo, copper alloy with turquoise, coral and pigments, at the Glenbow Museum in Canada.

The same figure, with two attendants,  Makaravaktra (the makara-headed deity who leads her kiang) and Simhavaktra (lion-headed deity) normally associated with Palden Lhamo.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Palden Lhamo, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Waddington’s.