About this object

A stout wooden figure of Vaisravana, Guardian of the North. He sits in the royal ease pose (end of toe on folded leg missing) and is dressed in full military armour, including with a helmet with protective scaled sides, a suit of scale armour, and an elaborate surcoat that incorporates kirtimukha faces at the shoulders. The face still has traces of pigment and gold and several layers are visible. The left hand is raised as if it once held a mongoose aloft and the right hand's finger and thumb form a loop suggesting he once held a Buddhist banner. Both wrists are tied with a yellow cotton twine that has been secured with a wax seal. The base is solid and carved with a double dorje.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Religion
  • Culture
    Tibetan
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Asia: Eastern Asia: China
  • Date made
    17th Century
  • Materials
    Yarn Silk; Metal; Pigment; Wood; Varnish; Wax
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from the Abbey Art Centre
  • Collector
    Laurence Austine Waddell
  • Place collected
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Lhasa
  • Date collected
    1904-08
  • Measurements
    131 mm x 86 mm x 81 mm; 5 3/16 in x 3 3/8 in x 3 3/16 in
  • Note
    Curator's comment: A note on the inventory card suggests that the wax seals were made by the (13th?) Dalai Lama. See 53.97.9 and 53.87.145 for identical tags (53.97.9 came from the Younghusband collection). Written by Emma Martin
  • Related people
    13th Dalai Lama (Previous owner); Abbey Art Centre (Previous owner); Laurence Austine Waddell (Collector)

Where is this object from?

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Events

  • Mission to Lhasa 1903-1904

    Start date: 1903
    End date: 1903
    Description: The British Mission to Tibet during 1903 and 1904 was an invasion of southern Tibet by British Indian forces on the pretence of negotiating trade relations between Tibet and British India. However, this was instigated primarily in the hope of preventing the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a base in one of the buffer states surrounding British India. The expedition was led by Colonel (later Sir) Francis Younghusband. It had a damaging effect on the British reputation, many Tibetans were killed and monasteries and houses were looted and/or destroyed along the way. The 13th Dalai Lama feld Lhasa before the arrival of the expedition and Younghusband negotiated, a soon to be repelled, convention with the Tibetan government or Kashag in Lhasa that was signed in the Potala on 7 Septmber 1904.

Ownership

Previous owners

  • 13th Dalai Lama

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Abbey Art Centre

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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