Tibet, various wrathful figures

11th century (or later?), Western Tibet, wrathful male, polychrome clay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Probably a retinue figure, this angry personage with three eyes, red hair, a green body, wears a tiger skin loin cloth and a garland of flowers, his attributes are missing.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Damcan (Dorje Legpa), gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Galerie Zacke.

Dorje Legpa with one head, three eyes, two hands, riding a goat, wearing a silk cloak, a cane hat and felt boots. He has both arms stretched and wields a vajra sceptre in his right hand and a (missing) human heart in the other.

18th century, Tibet or Nepal, Pehar, Monbuputra aspect, bone, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (USA).

Monbuputra, the body aspect of Pehar, has one head, two hands, and rides a white lioness. He brandishes a vajra sceptre in his right hand and holds a danda staff (or a sabre) in the other.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Buddhakapala? (labelled Buddakepala), bronze with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

Each with one head, three eyes, two hands, the couple stands in a dancing pose, one foot on a victim. She is naked and holds a flaying knife and a skull cup. Buddhakapala normally has four arms, the main hands holding a flaying knife and a skull cup, the upper arms holding a drum and a staff. The above holds a vajra sceptre and a skull cup. He wears the flayed skin of a human over his back.

Guru Dragpo, Tibet or Nepal, 18th century, bone, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (USA).

This wratfhul form of Padmasambhava always holds a scorpion in his left hand and a vajra sceptre in the other, he stands on two victims and has the hide of an elephant on his back.

Undated, Vajravidarana, Tibet, copper alloy, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

A semi-wrathful form of Vajrasattva, Vajravidarana may have three eyes and be semi-peaceful, holding a visvajra at heart level and a bell against his hip.

14th-15th century, Western Tibet, Bhairava as a trampled victim from a Chakrasamvara shrine, painted clay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Bhairava is a wrathful male Hindu deity who regularly appears in Tibetan art as a victim representing the ego. He is often paired with his female counterpart, Kalaratri, who represents ignorance.

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Tibet, wrathful females (3)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Kakasya, pyrophillite with remains of cinnabar and other pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Kakasya has a dark blue body and the head of a crow; she appears on mandalas along with another three animal-headed dakinis (owl-headed Ulukasya, dog-headed Svanakasya, sow-headed Sukarasya) each guarding a direction. On paintings she holds a sword and eats lungs and hearts.

The above holds a vajra-handled implement with a diamond-shaped blade in her right hand and a hook (elephant goad) in the other. She has small ears and long hair tied in a chignon, wears a loin cloth, a garland of severed heads and has a human hide over her back.

She stands with both feet on a prostrate figure with a human appearance.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Kakasya, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste.

This one has lost her attributes; she wears bone jewellery and has a crest on her head.

She is naked and wears her long black hair divided in three strands.

18th century, Tibet, wrathful female, gilt bronze (copper alloy), at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

It is unusual for a wrathful figure to be adorned with princely accessories.

Originally labelled Sarvabuddhdakini then Vajrayogini, 19th century, Tibet, painted clay, at British Museum in London (UK).

Works made after the 18th century are not normally included in this blog but we saw this character before because of the rarity of the subject. There were some doubts as to her identity since her appearance doesn’t correspond to any form of Vajrayogini. On the Himalayan Art Resources website (Index >Mahakala > Panjaranata > Five activity protectors) She is featured as  Singmo, who holds a gold razor in her right hand, like some dakinis do, and a skull cup in the other.

Same as before, photo on Himalayan Art Resources.

A wrathful female protector, emanation of Panjaranata Mahakala and retinue figure, she has a rakshasi (female demon) appearance, wears black garments and breathes flames out. Jeff Watts explains on HAR that the wire that sticks out of her mouth once supported flames. 

1900-1959, Tibet, Ragmo Nujin, painted clay, at the British Museum in London (UK).

There is also photo of her mother, Nagmo Nujin (Kali Rakshasi), who has the same attributes (the razor blade broken here) and is supposed to wear her hair in one braid. According to the British Museum, the first figure came from the Cranmore Ethnographical Museum, which closed in 1939, there is no mention of the other on their website.

18th century, India, Rashasa, published by Wepa UNIMA.

During the research on Singmo (Ekajata Rakshasi in sanskrit), there appeared this Indian puppet of a female with a rakshasi appearancewho seems to hold a razor in her right hand, begging to be added to this post!

Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja (4)

ALL THE POSTS ON YAMA PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN THE TIBETAN SECTION OF THIS BLOG HAVE BEEN REVISED, AND ERRORS OR IMPRECISIONS HAVE BEEN CORRECTED.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, copper alloy and pigments, private collection, published on http://www.yaijan518.com

Always without consort, the inner form of Yama Dharmaraja stands on a prostrate male buffalo (usually crushing a male victim) and holds a flaying knife and a skull cup, the latter always held before his heart.

16th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, bronze (copper alloy) with cold gold and pigments, stones (missing), private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This rare sculpture shows him with his head topped with Manjushri’s (of which he is an emanation) itself topped with a jewel.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Yama and attendants, bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia).

He may have a human head and be depicted with buffalo-headed attendants who stand on a prostrate bull, as he usually does. In this instance one of them wields a mace and holds a lasso, like his outer from, the other holds different attributes, possibly a skull cup and a jewel, like his secret form. They all wear a tiara with five skulls, the attendants have a garland of skulls around their neck, he has a garland of severed heads. 

Circa 18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, wood with traces of polychromy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Cold gold has been used here to paint Yama Dharmaraja’s facial features and accessories and to highlight his ithyphallic nature.

18th century, Tibet, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The outer form of Yama holds both arms straight and has a skull-tipped mace or stick in his right hand and a lasso in the other. He stands on a buffalo who usually crushes a female victim. He is supposed to be with Yami, his sister and consort, but she is often missing, or lost, along with the male buffalo on which they stand. According to Sotheby’s, the above holds a bone trumpet.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Yama and consort, bronze with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Cambi Casa d’Aste.

18th century, Tibet (or Tibeto-Chinese?), Yama and Yami, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Michaans Auctions.

On late sculptures he usually wears a breast plate with a ‘wheel of the law’ design.

18th century, Tibeto-Chinese, Yama Dharmaraja, gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

 

 

 

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).

 

 

Tibet, Wrathful Vajrapani with bell

12th-13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, Nilambadhara, brass with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Marcel Nies.

In one of his most common forms, wrathful Vajrapani brandishes his main attribute and presses a bell against his left side. He is adorned with the eight snake ornaments (no skull crown and no garland of severed heads) and usually treads on an elephant-headed demon lying on snakes (Bhut Aparajita). The above wears a foliate crown, large earrings and snakes, his tiger skin loin cloth is held in place with a cloth belt. The petals on the pedestal are engraved rather than sculpted, which helps date the piece.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, photo by Hayman Himalayan Art.

A similar appearance, with two figures on the pedestal, who represent ego and ignorance.

Circa 16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, black stone, private collection, photo by Renaud Montméat.

In theory, he never wears a skull crown but he may have a garuda in his headdress. This one wears a five-skull tiara and there is a garuda at the top of the arch behind him.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The bell is often held upside-down.

 

 

 

 

Tibet, Vajrapani – chanda (3)

13th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by Polyauction.

Tibet has produced a large variety of wrathful Vajrapani sculptures. Apart from brandishing his main attribute, a vajra sceptre, in his canda/chanda form he holds a lasso in his left hand while doing a threatening gesture. On rare occasions, he squats rather than having one leg straight.

Undated, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy, Katimari collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This one is adorned with nothing but snakes and his red flaming hair is tied with a large cobra.

15th-16th century?, Tibet, Vajrapani (labelled Achala), copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

He may have a half-vajra finial on his hair.

16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, bronze with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Polyauction.

The above has an effigy of Akshobhya in his headdress and sports curly eyebrows, moustache and beard.

Undated (circa 15th century?), Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo on HImalayan Art Resources.

Traditionally, he stands on a victim lying on a bed of snakes, here there seems to be two.

His eyes and teeth are inlaid with silver.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, gilt bronze (copper alloy), private collection, photo by 25 Blythe Road.

Like the first figure in this post, this one is squatting. His flaming hair is tied with a snake and adorned with a floral tiara.

He wears his tiger skin loin cloth with the head, the paws and the tail all dangling at the front.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This Chinese-style work depicts him with a very angry face, spiky flaming hair that stand up on his head way above the crown, and an equally spiky flaming arch behind him.

Undated (late Pala revival?), Tibet, Vajrapani, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (USA).

The tiger skin on this Pala-style sculpture is worn like a pair of shorts. We have seen early examples in the Indian section of this blog.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, parcel-gilt copper, private collection, photo by Vajragallery.

Undated (18th-19th century?), Tibet, Chanda Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy) with paint, at the Yale University Art Gallery (USA).

Tibet, wrathful Vajrapani – Mahacakra (2)

14th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, Mahacakra, bronze with cold gold and pigments, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Mahacakra Vajrapani with three heads and six hands, a long snake in his mouth and  main hands, the top right hand wielding a vajra sceptre, clad in a tiger skin loin cloth, his flaming hair tied with a snake. He embraces his consort, who holds a skull cup and a flaying knife; she wears a leopard skin loin cloth and has a leg around his waist. The couple tread on two victims who represent ego and ignorance.

15th century (circa 1430), Central Tibet, Mahacakra Vajrapani, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, made by Sonam Gyaltsen, photo by Bonhams.

On this Nepalese-style masterpiece, they have black hair.

and she wears a bone apron over a silk garment decorated with a floral pattern and auspicious symbols.

15th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, Mahacakra, gilt copper, private collection, photo by castor-hara.

Whether with his consort or alone, his main right hand does a gesture to dispel fear, the left one expresses generosity.

15th-16th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, possibly mahacakra, gilt copper alloy with stones, private collection, photo by Xanadu.

Although one arm and the snake are missing, the position of the hands and the vajra sceptre he wields suggest this is wrathful Vajrapani in his mahacakra form.

18th-19th century, Tibet, Mahacakra Vajrapani, bronze (copper alloy), at the British Museum in London (UK).