Lot 205
  • 205


100,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • gilt copper
Himalayan Art Resources item no. 13384.


Private Berlin collection, acquired before 1971. 


Weltkunst (issue no. 17), Munich, 1 September 1971, p. 1040. 

Catalogue Note

This monumental, elegant sculpture of Chakramsavara and his consort Vajravarahi in ecstatic union demonstrates classical Nepalese style with its use of luxuriant gilding and decorative beading. The present work exhibits many of the hallmarks of the de rigueur Nepalese style with low hairline and broad forehead; wide almond-shaped eyes; wide, powerful shoulders; dynamic movement and posture; elaborate beaded jewelry and tassels; and solid cast ritual implements.

Chakramsavara and Vajravarahi wear the tantric adornments of the six bone ornaments representing the six paramitas or perfections. These textural bone ornaments appear in beaded rows in the present work, and also represent the Five Dhyani Buddhas: (1) the crown of the head, symbolizing dhyana or concentration and Buddha Akshobhya; (2) the earrings that symbolize kshanti or patience and the Buddha Amitabha; (3) the necklace that symbolizes dana or generosity and Buddha Ratnasambhava; (4) the armlets and anklets that symbolize shila or discipline and the Buddha Vairocana; (5) the girdle and apron that symbolizes virya or exertion and Buddha Amoghasiddhi; and (6) the crisscrossed torso ornament that symbolizes prajña or wisdom and Buddha Vajradhara.

From Chakrasamvara’s neck hangs a garland of fifty-one severed heads strung on a length of human intestine and the hair of a corpse, signifying both the purification of speech and the purification of the fifty-one mental factors according to the Chittamatra or Mind-Only School as described by Asanga.

His twelve arms hold various ritual implements including a ghantadamaru, kartrika, pasha and khatvanga; the consort Vajravarahi with both legs awrapped around the waist of her partner, holds in the left hand a kapala and the right hand a kartrika. Together they stand atop crushed and supine figures holding various wrathful implements.

Compare the current work with another large-scale Nepalese bronze group depicting Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi dated to the 17th Century in the Newark Museum of Art, acc. no. 69.31, also illustrated in U. von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p. 387, pl. 105E.