A FINELY EMBROIDERED THANGKA DEPICTING CHAKRASAMVARA AND VAJRAVARAHI CHINA, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
- Silk embroidery
- Height 36 1/2 in., 92.7 cm; Width 26 1/2 in., 67.3 cm
The precision and meticulous detailing of the thangka reflects the spectacular skill of the artisans and ateliers associated with the Qing Imperial court, located in the textile workshops in the region of Suzhou in Eastern China. The open sky behind the central deities and the expanse of rolling clouds above the charnel ground scene in the lower register are both indicative of the syncretic Tibeto-Chinese style which developed there throughout the 17th and 18th Century.
Chakramsavara is blue in color, with four faces, and twelve arms. The six left hands hold a flayed elephant skin, a damaru or drum, a vajra-tipped parashu or axe, a kartrika or chopper, a trishula or trident and a vajra, and the right hands hold a flayed elephant skin, a danda or staff, a kapala or skullcup, a pasha or lasso, the brahmamukha or severed heads of Brahma and a ghanta or bell. Vajrayogini is red in color and holds a vajra in the raised right hand. The Bengali mahasiddha Luipa appears in the upper left, and an unidentified Sakya lama in the upper right.
Compare the current work with two embroideries in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Tangka-Buddhist Painting of Tibet, Hong Kong, 1995, vol. 59, p. 240, cat. no. 222 & p. 252-3, cat. no. 232.