The Buddhist Deity Hevajra

Title: The Buddhist Deity Hevajra

Location: Tibet

Culture: Tibetan

Medium: Copper alloy with traces of gilding

Dimensions: Height: 6 1/4 in, Width: 2 1/4 in, Length: 1 3/4 in.

Repository: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Image Description: An extremely unique and detailed piece of art, this sculpture depicts the Buddhist deity Hevajra. The sculpture, which stands at about half a foot in height and two inches in width, is made of a copper alloy with traces of gilding. This gives the sculpture a polished finish, with a color between mud brown and shiny copper. Like many other sculptures within this category of Buddhism, Hevajra is built atop a lotus pedestal. However, Hevajra is not standing on the pedestal, but rather four miniature people who are pressed against the pedestal. Hevajra, balancing on the pressed figures, uses one foot with his other bent and hovering. The deity is pictured to be holding a staff and a band of skulls draped between his biceps. The end of the staff is pointed directly at the four figures he is standing on top of. This is likely because Hevajra is a wrathful god who uses means of aggression to fight ego, ignorance, greed, and other enemies like that on the path to enlightenment and wisdom. The skulls hold the key to another one of Hevajra’s themes. Specifically, they represent the Buddhist teaching that a reality to life is that it’s inherently empty. Moving up the statue, Hevajra has lots of jewelry including a necklace and a subtle crown atop his main face. That is not the only crown within this figurine, however, as more faces are included on the back and sides of his head which have crowns as well.


Author: Ryan Mach

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