Vajradaka, top part

18th century, Tibet, Vajradaka, brass with turquoise inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Top part of a ritual black sesame seed burner, depicting the head of Vajradaka with his mouth wide open for the smoke to come out. See more about this deity on Himalayan Buddhist Art (, right hand side, Tibet> wrathful deities and on the Himalayan Art Resources website.


Antique head ornaments

Woman’s head ornament, Tibet, silver, turquoise, coral, brass, private collection, photo by Lempertz.

Tibetan women traditionally wore in their headdress a round silver ornament inlaid with turquoise and coral and decorated with an embossed pattern (or several). It is unusual for this object to be decorated with skulls.

Same as before, without brass.


Khyung Togchags

12th century, Tibet, brass, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (USA).

9th-13th century, Tibet, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Garudas, known as khyung in Tibet, usually hold a long snake between their hands and through their beak. The hands may be held at chest level…

Undated, same as before.

… or the arms may be spread above shoulder level.


This one looks like a winged bull rather than a garuda.

Vajrapani Togchags

12th century, Tibet, Vajrapani, brass (copper alloy), at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (USA).

Vajrapani brandishes a vajra sceptre in his right hand and holds a bell in the other, placed against his hip. He is adorned with snakes and wears a tiger-skin loin cloth. it is not clear what protrudes on each side of him.

12th century, Tibet, Vajrapani togchags, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This interesting collection features two togchags which are almost identical (top and bottom left of photo) and very similar to the previous item except for the absence of a securing rod below him. The top middle figure is a classic version of 13th century circa brass Vajrapani sculptures with a muscly body, his right leg bent, wearing snake anklets, bracelets, necklace and sacred thread, the head of the tiger skin resting over his raised knee. The lower middle figure is in fact Achala, whom we have seen in a previous post. On the top right togchag the bell is clearly visible against his left thigh. The bottom right amulet is a rare portrait of Vajrapani with a bird, possibly a peacock.


Achala Togchags

9th-13th century, Tibet, Achala, labelled Vajrapani, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Achala brandishes a sword above his head and holds a lasso wound around his forefinger, his flaming hair standing on his head, a tiger skin worn as a loin cloth.

12th century, Tibet, Achala, labelled Vajrapani, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This one wears a celestial scarf with split ends

12th-13th century, Tibet, Achala, bronze, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (USA).