Iconography: Buddhist Iconography in Himalayan & Tibetan Style Art (Figurative)

Buddhist Iconography Main Page | Iconography Main Page | The Three Basic Figurative Forms | Eleven Figurative Forms | Iconography Subjects Outline | Iconography Sources & Texts Outline



Introduction:

In Himalayan and Tibetan style art the study of Tantric Buddhist iconography involves the combination of six subjects:

1. The Traditional Tantric Buddhist Hierarchy of Figurative Subjects.
2. The Manner of Depicting the Classes of Figures of the Hierarchy.
3. The Three Traditional Descriptive Categories.
4. The Four Tantric Buddhist Activities.
5. The Traditional Categories of Deities According to Function.
6. The Four Classes of Buddhist Tantra.



Outline:

1. The Traditional Tantric Buddhist Hierarchy of Figurative Subjects:

(1) Guru
(2) Buddha (Main Page, Outline page)
(3) Ishtadevata/Meditational Deity
(4) Bodhisattva (Main Page, Outline Page)
(5) Arhat/Pratyekabuddha (Main Page, Resource Page)
(6) Daka/Dakini
(7) Protector Deity, Enlightened (Outline Page)
(8) Wealth Deity (Outline Page)
(9) Four Guardian Kings (Main Page, Outline Page)
(10) Worldly Gods of the Indian Pantheon




2. Iconographic Appearance - the Manner of Depicting the Eleven Classes of Figurative Forms in Tibetan Art:

(1) Buddha Appearance
(2) Arhat Appearance
(3) King Appearance
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(4) Monastic Appearance
(5) Lay Figure Appearance (including Yoga Appearance)
(6) Mahasiddha Appearance
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(7) Peaceful/Deva/Bodhisattva Appearance
(8) Semi-peaceful/Semi-wrathful Appearance
(9) Wrathful Appearance
(10) Animal Headed Gods & Deities
(11) Warrior (Drala) Appearance



3. The Three Traditional Descriptive Categories (Three Moods):

(1) Peaceful
(2) Semi-peaceful/semi-wrathful
(3) Wrathful



4. The Four Tantric Buddhist Activities & the Four Colours:

(1) Peaceful Activities
(2) Increasing Activities (Yellow Deities)
(3) Powerful Activities (Main Page, Outline Page)
(4) Wrathful Activities



5. The Traditional Categories of Deities According to Function:

(1) Buddha (Main Page, Outline page)
(2) Meditational Deity: (Main Page)
(3) Long-life (Main Page, Outline Page)
(4) Wisdom (Main Page, Outline Page)
(5) Power (Main Page, Outline Page)
(6) Miscellaneous (Main Page)
(7) Protectors: (Main Page, Outline)
(8) Protector, Worldly: (Main Page, Outline)
(9) Wealth Deity (Main Page, Outline Page)
(10) Purification (Main Page, Outline Page)



6. The Four Classes of Buddhist Tantra (Main Page):

(1) Kriya Tantra
(2) Charya Tantra
(3) Yoga Tantra
(4) Anuttarayoga Tantra



Jeff Watt February 27th, 2010