A thangka of Chakrasamvara Distemper on cloth, Tibet, 17th/18th century
Lot 153
A thangka of Chakrasamvara Distemper on cloth, Tibet, 17th/18th century
Sold for US$ 52,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A thangka of Chakrasamvara
Distemper on cloth, Tibet, 17th/18th century
Standing in alidhasana the blue yidam has four heads and twelve arms, the primary hands hold a vajra and bell and embrace the consort Vajravarahi and the top hands hold a flayed elephant skin out-stretched, third right a damaru, fourth an axe, fifth a trident, sixth a curved knife. The third left holds a katvanga marked with a vajra, fourth a vajra noose, fifth a blood filled skullcup, sixth carries the four-faced head of Brahma.

Each head has a crown of five dry human skulls and he wears a necklace of fifty freshly severed heads and six bone ornaments. Wearing a lower garment of tiger skin the right leg is straight and presses on the breast of the red female Kalaratri. The left is bent and presses on the head of the black male Yama. In the lap is the Mother Vajravarahi, with a body red in color, one face, two hands and three eyes. The left embraces the Father and the right holds a curved knife extended upwards, she wears the corresponding crown and skull necklace and embraces him with both legs on orange sun disc and multi-colored lotus blossom within a red mandorla and blazing orange ring of pristine awareness fire. Directly in front are four yoginis yellow, red, white and green, each with four arms holding a ritual chopper and skull bowl and trident.

The upper section with Vajrasattva in center, blue in color, holding a ghanta and vajra seated on a lotus platform encircled by blossoms and large leaves. On the left is the mahasiddha Luipa seated on an deer skin with a wild expression eating fish intestines. One the right a yellow hat lama with right his hand held in the teaching gesture (vitarka mudra) and the left holding a sutra in his lap. Framed within original silks
image: 50 x 35 ½ in. (127 x 90 cm)

Footnotes

  • According to David Snellgrove (Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Indian Buddhists and Their Tibetan Successors, Boston, 1987, pp. 153-54, "The name Shamvara, or Shambara, itself means Supreme Bliss, the bliss that is the fruit of Tantric meditation. Similarly, Chakrasamvara, literally "joined to the wheel," may be interpreted as "joined to the wheel of wisdom and bliss." Equal to a Buddha, Shamvara is beyond the extremes of samsara and nirvana. His left foot rests on Bhairava, the Terrifier, who represents samsara...each of his faces has three eyes, indicating that he sees the (whole) threefold world and that he knows the substance of the three times (past, present, and future). He has twelve arms indicating that he comprehends the evolution and reversal of the twelvefold causal nexus and eliminates these twelve stages of transmigration.'".

    The Mahasiddha Luipa is one of the most famous practitioners of Chakrasamvara, one who can transform themselves from the most dire situation through the power of insightful wisdom. His rejection of putrid food offered to him by an insighful yogini led him to realize that he still retained a 'pea-sized obscuration of royal pride in his heart'. He then began a twelve-year practice to overcome his pride at the Ganges eating fish guts, hence came to be known as Liupa.

    Provenance:
    Private Collection, Washington, DC
    Acquired by the present owner in Kathmandu, 1969

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that in the catalog and online the size is reported as 50 x 35 1/2 in. This is the size of the silk. The image size is 37 1/2 x 24 in.
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