Vajrasattva is a
tantric archetype deity, a bodhisattva who helps beings on the path. The word
vajra means diamond or thunderbolt and is associated with power, maleness and
an essential clarity.
This rare depiction of Vajrasattva, parcel gilded silver in bronze with
a smooth gold shine is a rare and unique find from 18th-19th century Tibet. The
youthful handsome face and body is adorned with intricately rendered jewelry,
earrings, necklaces and arm-band bracelets inset with precious coral and turquoise.
(Two inlays are missing: a coral in the left arm bracelet and a turquoise in the
wrist of the right hand.) The active tilt of the deity’s head along with the life-like
gestures of the hands, which hold the vajra and bell, brings this statue to life.
Here, we are given the sense that this deity is dynamically in the midst of fundamental
tantric rituals where the male principle represented by the right hand and the
vajra and the female principle represented by the bell are brought together in
union. There is a note worthy feature---a warrior’s helmet that is representative
of Vajrasattva’s fierce aspects. The steady gaze of the eyes and the prominent
third eye represents the all-seeing clarity of this deity. His ability to cut
through illusion and binding emotions is powerful and present. (S.D)