Male Hindu and Buddhist Deity Images

Male Hindu and Buddhist Deity Images

It is sometimes difficult to determine whether some figurines are specifically Hindu, or ones that have been adopted by the Mahayana tradition, during the Shailendra and Majapahit periods; especially bearing in mind the syncretism, which took place between the two religions during many of the dynasties.  The images below are male deities and are in no special order of importance.  The numbered images are part of the Apsarah Gallery Collection.


1.  Trimurti

15-TrimurtiTrimurti is a manifestation of three deities: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu in one image.
Material: bronze.
Patina: Brownish green.
Posture: padmāsana seated on a vishvapadma.
Attributes:  The right-rear hand holds a shanka (conch shell), an attribute of Vishnu and the left rear hand holds a parashu an attribute of Shiva.  The front-right hand holds a mala and the front-left hand a kundika (water vessel), both attributes of Brahma.
This is a distinctly Hindu deity.


Adityawarman as Bhairava

AdityawarmanMaterial: andesite stone.
Posture: sampada (standing with feet together) on a pedestal of skulls with the right hand holding a kāpalā (skull bowl) and the left hand a kaḍitula (sacrificial knife).
Adityawarman was born some time between 1294 and 1310 CE in Trowulan, the capital of the kingdom of Majapahit and became king of Malayapura, a state in Sumatra. He was said to be a devotee of Vajrayana Buddhism and considered a manifestation of Amoghapasha.  Perhaps after death, portrayed as Bhairava, the terrible manifestation of Lord Shiva.  Note the Amitabha Buddha image in the crown.


2.  Bhairava

002-BhairavaMaterial:  bronze with high tin or zinc.
Patina:  dark grey.
Posture: sampada (standing with feet together) with right hand showing the vitarkamudra signifying teaching and the left hand resting on a gada (cudgel).
Origin East Java.
Bhairava is the terrible manifestation of Lord Shiva and has been found as in the statue from Sumatra shown above.  Although Shiva is a distinctly Hindu deity, this image, if it follows that of the statue of Adityawarman above, would be classed as belonging to the Vajrayana tradition and was presumably as a result of the syncretism between Hindu and Buddhist traditions.


3.  Vishnu

9-VishnuMaterial: bronze
Patina: greenish brown
Posture: sampada (standing with feet together) on a vishvapadma lotus pedestal. The rear right hand shows the karanamudra (dispelling evil mudra) and holds a mala (rosary), the rear left hand holds a shanka (conch shell) and the front hands hold a patra (bowl).


4.  Vishnu

77-Vishnu Material: bronze
Patina: greenish brown
Posture: sampada (standing with feet together) on a vishvapadma lotus pedestal. The rear right hand holds a cakra, (discus), the rear left hand holds a shanka (conch shell) and the front hands are together and perhaps would hold a patra (bowl).
The ring behind the head represents an amsumala (nimbus).


Ganesha

Ganesha_SinghasariMaterial: andesite stone
Posture: seated in rajalilasana (royal ease) on a throne of skulls. The rear right hand holds a chakra, (discus) and the left rear hand holds a mala (rosary).  The front hands each hold a patra (bowl).  His trunk is getting laddu (sweetmeats) from the bowl in his left hand.
This stone statue of Ganesha, as the son of Shiva and weighing more than 2 tonnes was originally at Candi Renggo, in the 13th century Kingdom of Singhasari.  It was taken to Holland in 1819 and is now located at the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden, Netherlands.


5.  Ganesha

13_GaneshaMaterial: bronze
Patina: brownish black
Posture: seated in rajalilasana (royal ease) on a throne of skulls and placed on a separate socle with a back plate. The rear right hand holds a chakra, (discus) and the left rear hand holds a mala (rosary). The front hands each hold hold a patra (bowl). His trunk is getting laddu (sweetmeats) from the bowl in his left hand.
This figurine follows closely the asana and most of the details of the above stone statue. It is unlikely that it was copied when the original was in Java and possibly could have been made between 1819 and the early 20th century in Holland, or later in Java from a photograph.


6.  Kuvera

10-KuveraKuvera is the Lord of wealth. The earlier Sanskrit spelling was Kubera.
Material: bronze with high tin or zinc content.
Patina: dark grey
Posture: lalitāsana seated on a lotus throne, which is supported by elephants and lions.
Attributes: holding a nakula (mongoose), a patra (bowl), and with seven nidhi-kumbha (pots of jewels) at his feet. He has an utpalamala (garland of lotus or champaka flowers) around his waist.
In Hindu traditions he is regarded as a Lokapala (protector of the world) or more specifically the Dik-pala guardian of the North.  He was also subsumed into the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon.  Other Buddhist names for Kuvera are Jambhala and Vaiśravaṇa or Vessavaṇa.


Vishnu mounted on Garuda

Vishnu mounted on Garuda Material: andesite stone,
Vishnu is seated in lalitasana with a sankha (conch shell) in his left hand and an undetermined attribute in his left hand. His front hands are in dhyanamudra.
Garuda is the vahana (vehicle) of Vishnu.
Garuda is in the virasana (warrior posture).  The statue is damaged with parts of the arms and wings missing, such that the mudra and attributes of Garuda cannot be determined. He grips a snake with his right foot.
This stone sculpture of Airlangga, King of Kahuripan eastern Java, as Vishnu mounted on Garuda is dated ca. 1043 CE, was originally at Candi Belahan and now is in the Mojokerto Museum.


7.  Vishnu mounted on Garuda

51-Vishnu-GarudaMaterial: bronze, probably with zinc content.
Patina: dark brownish-grey.
Vishnu appears to be seated in lalitasana with a sankha (conch shell) in his right hand and a chamara (fly whisk) in his left hand. His front hands are in dhyanamudra.
Garuda is the vahana of Vishnu and is in the virasana (warrior posture) and holding a chakra (discus) in his rear right hand and a gada (cudgel) in his rear left hand.  He grips a snake with his right foot.
This figurine appears to have been modelled on a large stone sculpture shown above of Airlangga as Vishnu mounted on Garuda, dated ca. 1043 CE, originally at Candi Belahan and now in the Mojokerto Museum.


8.  Vishnu Matsyavatara

56- Vishnu-MatsyavataraMaterial: high tin-zinc alloy
Patina: brownish-grey
Posture: matsyavatara (fish avatar) on a vishvapadma lotus pedestal.  The hands appear to show the dharmacakramudra (the mudra of the rotation of the dharma wheel).
The matsyavatara was the first incarnation of Vishnu on earth as a giant fish


The audio clips below are Sanskrit mantras dedicated to Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.


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