Circa 16th century
H. 22 cm or 8 ⅝ in



Beautiful Nāḍi-Dākinī, fierce and protective goddess of Himalayan Tantric Buddhism. All the strength of this piece lies in the almost theatrical expressiveness of his face and the dynamism of the pose. Depicted standing in the split right-facing pose (ālīḍha), the goddess brandishes the skullcup (kāpala) with her left hand, that contains the blood of the enemies of Buddhist doctrine.  Her right hand, farther back, holds a knife (kartṛkā), the classic ritual attribute. Also designated as “Red Ḍākinī”, the deity is considered to be a form of the goddess Vajrayoginī, who is herself an aspect of the goddess Vajravārāhī. Possessing many magical powers and secret teachings, she plays an important role in the religious pantheon.

Also noteworthy are the very elegant curves of the body and the meticulousness given to the details of jewels. Many bracelets are visible at the feet, ankles, arms and wrists. Earrings and necklaces are not left out, and a belt with multiple beaded pendants adorns the waist of the goddess and enhances the chiseled and graphic patterns of her sheer garment.

Provenance: Private collection, France, since the 1970s.