Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Yama Dharmaraja (Buddhist Protector) - Outer

གཤིན་རྗེ་ཆོས་རྒྱལ། 阎罗法王
(item no. 700009)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Uncertain
Material Bronze
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Animal-Feature

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Yama Dharmaraja (Tibetan: shin je cho gyal. English: the Lord of Death, King of the Law): protector of the Vajrabhairava (Yamantaka) cycle of tantras.

Tibetan: Shin je cho gyal

Wrathful in appearance he has the head of a buffalo, three round eyes, sharp horns entwined with flame, fierce and angry. Held upraised in the right hand is a bone stick composed of a fused spine and skull. The left hand performs a wrathful gesture. Adorned with a crown of skulls and bone ornaments, he wears a necklace of fifty freshly severed heads. Appearing extremely animate he stands with his right leg bent and the left extended.

Yama Dharmaraja (also known as Kalarupa) is a wisdom deity protector of the father class of Anuttarayoga Tantra specifically employed by those engaged in the practices of the Vajrabhairava (Yamantaka) tantras and is found in all the Sarma Schools. The Gelugpa tradition holds Yama Dharmaraja in a special regard as one of the three main Dharma protectors of the School along with the Shadbhuja Mahakala (one face, six hands) and Vaishravana. These three were the special protectors of Lama Tsongkapa. Although similar in appearance and name Yama Dharmaraja is not the same individual as Yama the 'Lord of Death' depicted as the central figure in Buddhist depictions of the hell realms.

Indian Lineage: Vajradhara, Shri Vajrabhairava, Jnana Dakini, Lalitavajra, Vajrasana, Amoghavajra, Jnana Sambhava Bepa, Padmavajra, Dipamkara Shrijnana, (the Nepali) Bharo Chag Dum, (the Tibetan) Ra Lotsawa Dorje Drag, etc.

Jeff Watt 5-2003

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Sculpture: Figurative Art Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Yama Dharmaraja Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri (Highest Yoga Tantra)
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Buddhist Protector: Yama Dharmaraja, Outer
Buddhist Protector: Yama Dharmaraja (Masterworks)
Buddhist Protector: Yama Dharmaraja (Sculpture)