Vajrayogini (Buddhist Deity) - Vajravarahi, Red
(item no. 771)

Western Tibet

1400 - 1499

Sakya and Karma (Kagyu) Lineages

44.45x42.55cm (17.50x16.75in)

Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton

Collection of Rubin Museum of Art

(acc.# P1998.28.2)

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Vajravarahi (Tibetan: dor je phag mo, English: the Vajra Sow) accompanied by 24 dakinis, Sahaja Chakrasamvara above and two monastic figures below.

Sanskrit: Vajravarahi Tibetan: Dor je pag mo

Red in colour, slightly peaceful and slightly wrathful, with one face and two hands she gazes forward with three eyes. The face of a brown female boar protrudes from her right side behind the ear. Held aloft in the right hand is a curved knife and to the heart with the left a skullcup. The bend of the elbow cradles a vajra katvanga staff - gold coloured, long and thin. Crowned with a tiara of five skulls the black hair of the head flows downward behind. Adorned with gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets and a girdle with decorative tassels, she wears a garland of fifty fresh heads. Draped across the shoulders is a long scarf of yellow and green. The right leg is raised in a dancing posture and the left presses upon a small red sun disc atop a prone yellow figure above another sun disc resting on a multi-coloured lotus blossom surrounded by a large red sphere of tightly swirling flames of pristine awareness fire.

Within the sphere reside the four close attendant dakinis, yellow Rupini, red Khandaroha, green Lama and blue Dakini. Each has one face and four hands holding a curved knife and skullcup in the first pair and an upraised damaru drum and katvanga staff in the second. Wearing the same ornaments and standing firmly with both legs, each is surrounded by a circle of fire.

At the top center in Heruka form is Sahaja Chakrasamvara, blue, with one face and two hands holding a vajra and bell embracing the consort Vajravarahi, red in colour. Along the sides and bottom are 20 dakinis. All of those but 4 have one face and four hands, in a variety of colours, similar to the main attendants. The 4 remaining dakinis, standing at the outside right and left of the central figure each have two hands and an animal face. Seated at the bottom right and left corners, monastic figures wearing red robes perform the teaching mudra with the two hands held at the heart.

Vajravarahi, along with numerous variations in appearance such as Vajrayogini and the Fierce Black One, remains one of the most popular and special tutelary deity practices arising from the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantras belonging to the wisdom class of Anuttarayoga Tantra. These various forms are practiced in all the Sarma Schools, Sakya, Kagyu and the like.

Jeff Watt 6-99

View other items in:
Thematic Set
Tradition: Kagyu Deity Paintings
Tradition: Sakya Deity Paintings
Painting Style: Western Tibetan
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery VIII
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Vajravarahi Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Deities (Female)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini (Early Paintings)

Copyright © 2015 Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.
Photographed Image Copyright © 2004 Rubin Museum of Art