Central Asia, Tibet, ca. 18th century CE. Cast via the lost wax (cire perdue) process, a gilded bronze statue depicting Yamantaka, a violent aspect of the Bodhisattva Manjushri, who takes on this phenotype in order to eliminate Yama, the god of death - assuming a dramatic pose upon a lotus pedestal. This piece depicts Yamantaka in a traditional manner, with 34 arms arranged in rows of 8 on each side, a snake between his legs, his main head that of a bull, wearing a crown of skulls, and engaged in a sexual position (yab-yum) with a consort. On the underside of the base is an impression of a lotus blossom. A superb example with nice remains of red cinnabar on the surface. Size: 3" H (7.6 cm) Size: 2.5" H (6.4 cm)
The name Yamantaka essentially translates to "The Terminator" derived from "Yama" meaning god of death and "Antaka" meaning terminator or destroyer in Sanskrit. Tibetan mythology tells of how one day Yamantaka climbed seven floors down into the earth toward hell in order to challenge the God of Death. Being strategic, Yamantaka assumed the frightening appearance of the God Yama. Upon seeing Yamantaka, the God of Death (Yama) was somewhat humorously "scared to death" of his own image.
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection
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