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Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi, late 18th century

China: Qing Dynasty, 1750-1799
Gilt bronze inlaid with gemstones and pigments
13-7/8 x 10 x 5-7/8 in. (35.2 x 25.4 x 14.9 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon
M.2010.1.44.S
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

In this dramatic image, Chakrasamvara, whose name means “joined to the wheel of wisdom and bliss,” is locked in a sensual embrace with his spouse Vajravarahi. Their coupling, known as yab-yum, or “father-mother” posture, symbolizes the union of wisdom and compassion. Each of Chakrasamvara’s four faces has a fierce expression, a third eye and a skull tiara. In addition, he wears garlands of skulls and severed heads, and his 12 arms hold various attributes: a lasso and arrow, as well as a thunderbolt and bell in his principal hands, crossed in front of Vajravarahi. The other symbolic weapons, which were attached separately, have been lost over time.


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