Vajrayana Buddhist is a form of Tantric, also called Esosteric Buddhism and both schools are within the Tibetan tradition that emphasize mystical concepts and practices that include meditation, visualization through mandalas and specialized rituals, the way to enlightenment is through identifying with tantric deities and less with their worship and enlightenment arises from the realization that seemingly opposite principles are in truth one.

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  • Antique Guanyin Held Up by Demons, China


    This outstanding Guanyin wood carving is an extremely rare image and displays a wonderful earthy blend of spiritual and folk traditions that resonated with provincial populations. She sits on a lotus above a hexagonal shaped throne in full robes, legs are in lotus posture with the feet upward on the opposite thigh (padmasana), the left hand  in meditation position, the right raised in abhaya mudra , and her lobed crown is centered with Amitabha Buddha inside an aureole which is all normal Buddhist iconography. The four haggard and agonized creatures struggling to hold up the calm Guanyin and her throne on their shoulders is unique, a brilliant visual representation of the triumph of Buddhism over ignorance. Probably placed in a community shrine or Guanyin temple, the rear is unpainted as it was displayed high against a wall and foreshortened to be viewed from below. With its admonitions about greed, aversion and ignorance it is a great metaphor for our times. 


  • Antique Guanyin with Dhyani Buddhas in Crown, China


    This serene exquisitely carved Guanyin sits on a plain detached pedestal base in the lotus position in meditation, hands in her lap wearing a traditional undergarment tied at her chest that extends over her legs and is covered by a long-sleeved flowing outer garment that flows over her shoulders, loops at the waist, and drapes down her back. Delicate incised leaves within caved circles enhance the robe at the knees, and other leaf motifs appear on the front, back, and sleeves of the robe. The deeply carved folds on the arms and rounded garment hem echo the curvature of her body. Her gentle, sweet face is soft and smooth with very high eyebrows arched over downcast half-closed eyes and above a narrow and small nose and her red pursed lips are set in a peaceful and calming half smile. Her high pointed crown depicts the Five Tantric Dhyani Buddhas.  This is truly a remarkable carving.

  • Antique Three-Faced Tantric Bodhisattva, China


    This carving is probably Chun-ti P’u-sa, a tantric female deity called the Bodhisattva of Light, worshipped by Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhists as a merciful Bodhisattva. In tantric style she has a head with three faces and multiple arms and elegant hands: the upper ones hold the Sun and Moon, the middle ones are in mudra of prayer and the lower ones the teaching mudra. Multi-headed and multi-armed bodhisattvas symbolizes their ability to save many living beings at one time. She wears an elegant lobed crown centered by Amitabha, as does Guanyin with whom she is often confused. Her long Buddhist robe extends to her bare feet as she stands on a simple raised pedestal. This is an extremely rare and important piece – as lovely as it is spiritual.

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