Standing in a graceful tribhanga upon a double lotus base, this bodhisattva is identifiedas Vajrapani (Thunderbolt-bearer) by the presence of a vajra (thunderbolt) that is balanced upon the open palm of his lefthand. Although appropriatelyadorned by jewelry and garments befitting a bodhisattva, the figure presents anoverall elegant simplicity that is typical of the Nepalese aesthetic. A long, patterned dhoti and diagonally-tied sash cover Vajrapani's lower body, and adouble-stranded necklace, the center of which is decorated by a prominentfoliate pendant with three dangling jewels,adorns his torso. Upon the deity'shead is a splendid, foliate, tiered crown. Behind this headdress, his hair is upswept in a toweringchignon, barely visible from the front. Deeply engaged in meditation, the bodhisattva bears a serene expression;his almond-shaped eyes are heavily downcast, and his small mouth set in thesubtlest of smiles.
One of the oldest members of the Buddhistpantheon, Vajrapani was first represented as a protector and constant companionto the Buddha in early Buddhist art. It was not until Mahayana Buddhism was introduced to the region that thedeity took on the form of a peaceful bodhisattva whose role was to aidworshippers in the attainment of nirvana.
The present Vajrapani is a wonderfulexample of Transitional period (879 - 1200 A.D.) Nepalese sculpture. When compared to an eleventh centurybodhisattva at the Norton Simon Museum,the slender proportions, smooth modeling, lotus base, clothing style and crowntype are similar. Yet, the detailsof the Norton Simon example are somewhat more refined, suggesting a slightlyearlier tenth-century date for the present example. Another related tenth century bodhisattva is found in thecollection of The British Museum.
 Necklaces bearing a central pendant with three dangling gems arecharacteristic of tenth century Nepalese sculpture. See von Schroeder (1981), figs. 80e-8g.
 Pal asserts that the best surviving Nepalese bronzes were castduring the Transitional period. Pal (1985), p. 18.
 See Pal (2003), no. 46.
 See von Schroeder (1981), fig. 80C.