FRAGMENT OF A YAB-YUM IMAGE
THOUGH highly mutilated the image is important for its provenance as this would be one of the very few authentic images from Tsaparang itself. The image was once a part of the Li Gotami collection who had copied the Tsaparang frescoes and presented some to this museum.
The clay sculptures formed an important part of the monasteries and temples of western Tibet and the Ladakh region during the 10th–13th century. Shilpashastras and Puranas consider clay as one of the suitable materials for making sculptures. The tradition was prevalent in India, Ceylon, Central Asia and China. For the bigger sculptures, wooden armatures were used. Then a thick coat of clay mixed with straw was applied. To get a smoother surface, layers of wool or fine straw were added. The finer surface was achieved by the final coat of very fine clay. The body was then given shape and ornamented. Finally it was given a coat of paint. The present image is made of fine clay with the straw filling inside.
The position of the image obviously indicates it to be a part of the Yab-Yum image, the male counterpart of which is now missing. Even though it is just a small remnant of the image, the face vibrates with the ecstasy of orgasmic bliss. The stylistic features, a particularly elongated torso, and the modelling of her long face bear the imprint of some of the characteristics of the art of Kashmir. It is no wonder, as Tsaparang was in close contact with Kashmir during this time, through the great master Padmasambhava or Rinchen Sangpo as discussed earlier. This image, broken at the shoulders and knees is adorned with the waist band of pearls, two pearl strings, and big round earrings, one of which is missing. Her bare body is covered with her straight hair let loose on her back. Her face is slightly titled up as in the Yab-Yum images with the prominent third eye and an open mouth exposing her teeth. Her eyes, eyebrows and hair are painted black while the body surface is glazed with red colour.
11th century CE
13.2 x 10 cms.