20th Century Tibetan Gilt Bronze Tantric Yama Dharmaraja Buddha


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This gilt bronze figurine depicts the Buddhist deity Yama Dharmaraja, a protector deity. The name meaning ‘Lord of Death, King of Law.’ His role is similar to those of Hades and Pluto in Greek and Roman mythology. This fearsome and wrathful protector has the head of a buffalo, three eyes, and red hair that flows upward. Around his neck is a necklace of severed heads, while a crown of skulls sits between his two horns. This bronze figurine appears dynamic, with its right leg bent and the left extended on the back of a buffalo. Yama rides the buffalo, a symbol of time due to its slow speed, suggesting that time runs out eventually for everyone. There is a human that lies beneath the buffalo on a sun disc and lotus seat. It is a great figurine for anyone interested in the deities of Buddhism or who wants a dynamic piece for a living area.

Additional information

Weight 2.5 lbs
Dimensions L 2.25 x W 4.75 x H 6.25 in
Style / Period

Qing Style

Year / Century

20th Century

Place of Origin



Gilt Bronze


Based on the images provided, the bronze cast is done in the manner of an 18th C type. The lack of details on the face, ascending demons below the belly, and the shape of things, like the feet, indicate it is of the 20th century. This item was made in Tibet, where the preferred mode for creating small statues was the lost wax method, in which a detailed wax sculpture is formed over a core. This figurine has been gilded and the hair has been painted a coppery red with mineral pigments. The brass has some scratches consistent with age and use. This figurine is unique since the Yama Dharmaraja can be moved on the buffalo's back. There are two small stakes underneath the feet that can go into two small holes on the back of the buffalo, making it dynamic. On the bottom of the figurine, a piece of tin has been welded shut. There is a flower-like stamp on the tin piece, most likely a signature of the artist.

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