A Sino-Tibetan bronze Yamantaka (Vajrabhairav) with twenty-eight arms and tiered heads as a wrathful deity with consort in four hands, and standing on figures above a lotus base. Base is marked with Ming double Dora and Yin Yang circle,
late 19th-early 20th century.
No damage. Scratches and ribbing to patina throughout indicative of age and use. Tiered heads loose and sculpture comes apart in 4 pieces.
Height: 18.75 Inches Width: 13.75 Inches Depth: 5.75 Inches
Yamantaka (Sanskrit: Yamantaka or Vajrabhairava Tibetan: Wylie: gshin rje gshed; rdo rje ‘jigs byed; Korean: DaeWiDeokMyeongWang; Japanese: Daitokumyoo; simplified Chinese; traditional Chinese: pinyin: Dà Weidé Jingang; Mongolian: Erlig-jin Jarghagchi) is the “lord of death” deity of Vajrayana Buddhism. Sometimes he is conceptualized as “conqueror of death”. He belongs of the Anuttarayoga Tantra class popular deity within the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tibetan equivalent, Yamantaka is Vajrabhairav. Yamantaka is a wrathful expression of Mañjusri, the Samyaksambuddha of wisdom who, in other contexts, also functions as a dharmapala or a Heruka. Yamantaka manifests in several different forms, one of which (via yogatantra) has six legs, six faces and six arms holding various weapons while sitting or standing on a water buffalo. Within Buddhism, “terminating death” is a quality of all buddhas as they have stopped the cycle of rebirth, samsara. Yamantaka, then, represents the goal of the Mahayana practitioner’s journey to enlightenment, or the journey itself: in awakening, one adopts the practice of Yamantaka – the practice of terminating death.
In Hinduism, Yama, is the lord of death. In the Rigveda, he is mentioned as one who helped humankind find a place to dwell, and gave every individual the power to tread any path to which he or she wants. In Vedic tradition, Yama was considered to be the first mortal who died and espied the way to the celestial abodes; thus, as a result, he became the ruler of the departed. Yama’s name can be interpreted to mean “twin”, and in some myths he is paired with a twin sister Yami. He also has two twin brothers, Ashvini Kumaras. Yama is associated with various roles in Hinduism that are not always consistent throughout the stories. Sometimes, he is the lord of justice and is associated with Dharma, such as in the Brahma Purana; in other Puranas, Yama has no association with Dharma at all. . Yama is also found in Buddhist texts. The Buddhist Yama, however, has developed different myths.