• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2024

    Indian and Southeast Asian Art

    16 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 527 A

    A large gilt bronze figure of Vajrabhairava Yamantaka


    Price Realised  


    A large gilt bronze figure of Vajrabhairava Yamantaka
    Tibet, 16th century
    Standing in alidhasana with his consort atop various prostrate figures and animals over a double lotus base, he with his many arms radiating about him and each holding a different implement, his moveable primary arms grasping his consort and holding the curved knife and skull cup, clad in a pendant belt of bones and garlands of severed heads and snakes, his wrathful faces surmounted by his hair rising into a flaming chignon and secured by crowns of skulls, she also holding a curved knife and skull cup and wearing in a pendant belt of bones, further adorned with jewelry and garlands with skulls, her flowing hair pulled into a topknot and secured with a tiara of skulls, both inset with hardstones and with remains of cold gold and polychromy throughout
    12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm.) high

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Vajrabhairava Yamantaka is one of the eight protectors of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the terrifying form of Manjushri, the God of Wisdom, whose head is visible in the flaming headdress. He takes the wrathful form in order to conquer Yama, the God of Death, thus symbolizing the victory of Wisdom or Knowledge over Death or Ignorance, which are considered one and the same in Tibetan Buddhism.

    In his present aspect of Vajrabhairava, he is also associated with the Hindu god Bhairava, a form of Shiva who destroys the universe at the end of each Hindu eon. By incorporating both aspects, Vajrabhairava became one the most powerful divinities of Tibetan Buddhism. This present lot is a superb example of the bronze casting technique, as the figures and implements have been formed separately and in various moveable parts.


    Acquired before 1996.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from a Private Greek Collector