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PS7. Padmasambhava, Tibet, circa 18th century, repousse copper alloy, 25.4 cms

Padmasambhava which literally means born of the Lotus was born in what is now known as the Swat valley in modern Pakistan. The area was then known as the kingdom of Udyana. At and early age he became famous for his tantric practices and supernatural powers.

After learning of his magical powers, Trisong Detsen, the king of Tibet invited Padmasambhava to come to Tibet to subdue the demons and malevolent nature spirits. In Tibet he founded the first Buddhist monastery, Samye, initiated the first Tibetan monks and introduced the tantric form of Buddhism. He is may be credited with being the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.

This fine repousse sculpture of Padmasambhava was made about the 18
th century. It is made of a golden yellow alloy and some of Padmasambhava’s jewels are inlaid with copper. He is shown seated cross legged on a double lotus throne holding a vajra, a symbol of Tibetan Buddhism in his right hand and a kapala or skull cup a powerful tantric symbol in his left. He wears his characteristic hat with a sun and moon in front. The sculpture retains its seal and behind are two lugs which probably once held a now lost mandorla.

Published: Kailash-Jounal of Himalayan Studies, Vol X1, 1984

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