An exquisite Tibetan bronze statuette of the wrathful Buddhist deity, Acala. The figure wields a flaming sword and is surrounded by a halo of flames known as an agni prabhavali. He stands in the ‘vajra’ stance, with one leg bent and the other extended and in his left hand he grasps a lasso – a common item identified with this deity. The figure’s hair is depicted in stylised spiral curls and he is adorned with a necklace, large earrings, bracelets and anklets. His deeply furrowed brow highlights his wrathful presentation.
Date: 19th-20th century AD. Provenance: From the property of a London gentleman; formerly in a UK collection, acquired in the 1990s. Condition: Excellent condition. The base has caved inwards but no damage done.
Acala, sometimes presented as the wrathful form of the bodhisattva, Manjushri, is relatively unusual in Tibetan Buddhism. The sword he wields was believed to cut through obstacles to enlightenment and the lasso he carries was to ensnare stubborn disbelievers. Despite his wrathful appearance, he was thought to have been manifested through compassion to protect Buddhist belief and to assist in the process of enlightenment. He is often cited as one of the ‘Wisdom Kings’ (as they are known in East Asia) or ‘Herukas’ in Tibetan tradition.
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