HRDAYA HEVAJRA ‘The Heart of Hevajra’.

Nepal Malla 16th century 

Gilt copper 

14.5 cm 


Hevajra is one of the most powerful tantric tutelary deities. Although he is associated with the Sakyapa (Tib. Sa skya pa) tradition in Tibet he is also the profound practice deity for many other traditions. He is primarily associated with the female/wisdom aspects of practice and his tantra is among tantric Buddhism’s oldest texts dating to about the 7-8th century. Hevajra was particularly worshipp ed in Nepal and southern Tibet and it is likely that this image was made by Newar craftsmen from Nepal either in Nepal itself or for a patron in Tibet. 


According to his tantra (translated by D.L. Snellgrove in 1959) his mighty wrath, his great passion, his terrifying aspect etc. are all illusory because his inner nature is beneficent peace. Associated with Hevajra is his consort, Nairatmya (‘ Without Self’) whose essence is pure wisdom and who ‘completes’ Hevajra. The Hevajra Tantra (in English translation) contains much that Snellgrove was unable to publish in English due to what was then considered its sexual nature but it was retained in the Tibetan and Sanskrit texts. The modern reader and collector knows that what app ears on the outside as potentially ‘dangerous’ can be made wondrous under the guidance of an experienced teacher. This concept may be found in the tantra itself which says, ‘By passion is the worldy person bound and by the passions themselves is he also freed.’ 


In the form shown in this image he is known as Hrdaya Hevajra or ‘The Heart of Hevajra’. Hevajra has 8 heads and holds seven animals in his seven right hands and seven, mainly Hindu, deities in his left seven hands. This does not necessarily suggest an anti-Hindu viewpoint but rather that Hevajra is not bound by the strict rules of Hindu society and in fact has gone beyond them. Hevajra usually holds a skull cup in his left front hand and a Vajra in his right front hand. However in this version he holds a skull cup with the goddess of the earth, Prthvi in his left front hand and a skull cup with an elephant in his right front hand. He is usually shown trampling the Hindu deities Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Indra underfoot but in this image with its missing base they are absent. His consort Nairatmya holds a skull cup filled with wisdom-nectar and a chopp er with which to separate ignorance from wisdom.


The image is extremely carefully made and its intricacy is extraordinary. The ornaments worn by Hevajra, in particular his dancing robe made of human bone shows the level of detail achieved by the artisan. From the areas where the gilding has worn it can be seen that the app lication of gold was quite generous and suggests that the piece may be a product of the early part of the Late Malla period. The app lication of red colour to the hair of both figures clearly shows that the image had spent some of its life at least in Tibet where this process is commonly found on wrathful figures. Perhaps it is best to let Hevajra himself have the last word. In his tantra he says, ‘Black am I, and terrible…..but my inner nature is tranquil.’ 

喜金剛雙修

尼泊爾 馬拉皇朝 十六世紀

紅銅鎏金 

14.5 公分 


喜金剛是密宗最强大的護法之一,除了薩迦派尊崇,其他派系亦非常敬重,在尼泊爾和 西藏南部受人崇拜。 喜金剛八面十六手,右邊七手托著顱蓋碗,盛載著動物,左邊七手托著顱碗盛著印度教 徒,表明喜金剛不受印度社會嚴格規則的約束。 胸前左手托著顱碗盛著地神,右前手托著顱碗,內有一象。腳下通常踐踏印度教 神梵天濕婆, 昆濕奴和英德拉, 可惜此像缺乏底座。喜金剛擁抱著明妃" 金剛 無我瑜伽母",右手拿彎刀,用以分割無知和智慧,左手托顱碗盛滿智慧花蜜。 此像精心製作,工藝非凡。喜金剛佩戴人頭項鏈,鎏金厚重,呈現馬拉晚期風格。喜金 剛和明妃頭上紅彩,表示此造像曾在西藏受人膜拜,通常亦只會出現在憤怒護法頭上。 喜金剛經書有記載:「我是黑,可怕…但我內心是平靜的。」

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