HIMALAYAS | TIBET | PAINTING

Chakrasamvara and Consort
Tibet
c. 17th century
Mineral pigments with gold on cloth

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Chakrasamvara and Consort
Tibet
circa 17th century
Mineral pigments with gold on cloth
34 x 25 in. (86 x 64 cm.)
Provenance: from the Uzes Collection (France) acquired in the 1950s

HAR Item No. 8211

Chakrasamvara, which translates as wheel of bliss, is one of the most popular yidam, or meditational deity, in Tantric Buddhism after the 11th century. As the principal deities of the Anuttarayoga Tantra of the Vajrayana Buddhist Tradition, Chakrasamvara can appear in several dozen different forms, from simple to complex, peaceful to wrathful. Here Chakrasamvara and his consort Vajravarahi are both with a wrathful appearance, standing on Red Kalaratri and Black Bhairava, symbolizing the triumph over ego and ignorance. Chakrasamvara, who is blue in color, has four heads and 12 hands, in which he holds an elephant skin behind his back, a staff, a skullcup, a golden lasso, Brahma’s four heads, a trident, a flaying knife, an axe, a drum, a vajra and a bell at center. Both Chakrasamvara and his consort Vajravarahi wear a skull crown, a garland of freshly severed heads, and are surrounded by the blazing flames of pristine awareness. A register of deities are at the top of the image. From left to right are identified as Vajrayogini, Vajrasattava, Ghantapa, Tipola, Vajradhara, Naropa, Dombi Heruka, Akshobhya, and Hayagriva. An attendent figure is positioned on the left of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi. He is mostly likely to be Kankalipa, one of the 84 mahasiddhas who meditated many years upon his deceased wife as a Dakini, the emptiness, and attained the state of mahamudra-siddhi.   

The Elder Arhat Kanakavatsa
Tibet
c. 18th century 
Ground mineral pigments on cloth

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The Elder Arhat Kanakavatsa
Tibet
c. 18th century 
Ground mineral pigments on cloth 36 1/4 x 24 in. (92 x 61 cm.)
Provenance: Koller Zurich, June 1978, lot 46

HAR Item No. 36292

The seventh of the sixteen great Arhats adorned in a red and orange patchwork robe heightened with gold leaf details. Seen seated on a lush green landscape, surrounded by trees, rocks, and a muttering stream: features characteristically Chinese in style, a syncretic attribute derived from the intimate relationship between China and Tibet created by the conversion of Kublai Khan, the Mongol ruler of China, to Tibetan Buddhism. The haloed and mature saint with eyes opened wide and gazing intently as he holds a jeweled lasso in his hands, according to the legends the jewels serve to give wisdom and understanding of Buddhist doctrine and were a gift of the Nagas. In the richly colored sky sit the sun and moon. In “Art of Tibet: A Catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection, June 1984, pg. 137, plate 4” Dr. Pratapaditya Pal references an early Arhat thangka, possibly of Kanakavatsa, with heavy Chinese influences. In this thangka an attendant figure is positioned offering a bowl to the Arhat. Dr. Pal explains that this iconography can also be seen in an eleventh century description of an Arhat series by an unknown Song master, in which “Kanakavatsa is worshipped by the King of Kashmir who sits on the right-hand side, the Arhat makes a mudra. Before him a flower bowl is placed…” Dr. Pal explains that “The kneeling figure in this thangka (LACMA), wearing the rich figured silk and offering the lapis lazuli flower, may be the “barbarian” king of Kashmir who is said to have visited Kanakavatsa…” One might postulate that the attendant figure in this thangka may also be the “barbarian king of Kashmir” offering a stylized vessel in homage. “Arhats are the saints of Buddhism, followers of the Buddha who have attained freedom from ignorance and suffering. In the Hîyâna school of Buddhism, the Arhat was considered to be the Buddhist ideal, but in later Mahāyāna Buddhism this role was taken over by the Bodhisattva. Arhats remained important in Tibetan Buddhism as protectors of the doctrine. Prayers were said to them and they were credited with many miracles.”– British Museum

Hayagriva
Tibet 
c. 18th century
Ground mineral pigments on cloth

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Hayagriva
Tibet
c. 18th century
Ground mineral pigments on cloth
Image: 29 1/4 x 20 in. (75 x 51 cm.)
Provenance: From a Private Italian Collection

HAR Item No. 8047

Hayagriva is a Tantric Buddhist meditational deity that can be found in all four of the standard classifications: Kriya, Charya, Yoga and Anuttarayoga. He is associated with the Padma Buddha Family where the Buddha is Amitabha, the Lord is Avalokiteshvara and chief wrathful deity is Hayagriva. According to some traditions Hayagriva is an independent entity while in others he is the wrathful emanation of Amitabha or Avalokiteshvara.

A Fine Thangka of Shakyamuni
Tibet

c. 18th century
Ground mineral pigments and gold on cloth

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A fine thangka of Shakyamuni
Tibet
c. 18th century
Ground mineral pigments and gold on cloth Framed: 31 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. (80 x 55 cm.)
Image: 24 x 15 in. (61 x 38 cm.)
Provenance: Collection of late John Walden (1925-2013)

HAR Item No. 8045

Seated in dhyanasana on a lotus base, his hands in bhumisparsamudra, in the left an alms bowl, dressed in multicolored patchwork robes, the face with serene expression backed by a nimbus and aureole, all surmounting Shadakshari and Vajrasattva below. “Born in the Shakya race through skillful means and compassion; destroying the army of Mara who was unable to be destroyed by others; with a body radiant like a mountain of gold. Homage to you, King of Shakya.” (Sakya liturgical verse)(HAR).  “Shakyamuni Buddha is the founder of the Buddhist religion. He lived and taught in India in the sixth century B.C.E., a time of burgeoning religious and philosophical thought from Greece to China. Born as the crown prince of the great Shakya Kingdom, the young Siddhartha Gautama was groomed to be a king in accordance with the wishes of his royal father. However, when he was about 29 years old, he learned of the deep suffering experienced in life by people. He left his palace life, gave up his fine garments and jewelry in order to find the causes of this suffering and the means to overcome it. After about six years of study, self-deprivation, and deep meditation he finally realized his goal. He had become an enlightened one (a Buddha). After this, he is said to have walked to a deer park in Sarnath (Benares) on the outskirts of Varanasi in India. Here he gave his first sermon, an event which is called the turning of the wheel of Buddhist law (Dharmacakra). The wheel as a metaphor for Buddha’s teaching will become a prevalent symbol in Buddhist art.” – Khan Academy