Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Indian Adepts - Palpung Composition II

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These miscellaneous compositions of the Eight Great Adepts (mahasiddha), following the Palpung Monastery tradition, belong to several different painting sets. Each set has nine paintings in total with either Vajradhara or Padmasambhava as the central painting. The iconographic depiction of each of the figures is believed to based on a model created either by Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne, or at least at Palpung Monastery in the 18th century.

The nine individual figures are found as single compositions with Padmasambhava at the center of the painting. They are found as a three painting set with three mahasiddhas per composition. Finally, the individual siddhas are created as single compositions making for a set of nine paintings in total.

Compositions & Composition Sets:
- Single Composition - all siddhas
- Three adepts per Composition
- Single Composition per Siddha (below)

Depictions of the Eight Siddhas are found as minor figures in larger painting compositions as early as the 12th century. The Sakya and Gelug traditions each have their own popular eight siddhas. The Marpa (Dagpo) Kagyu tradition have their own list of eight which Situ Panchen follows.

A few of the eight siddhas are commonly found depicted in the Eight Great Cemeteries surrounding a painted mandala of the Sakya, Kagyu and Jonang Traditions. The Nyingma and Gelug artistic convention is to depict generic siddha figures in each of the eight cemeteries. See the Eight Siddhas as minor figures in early artworks: Eight Siddhas (misc.)

Siddha List:
Padmasambhava: 566, 65803
Saraha: 227, 326
Indrabhuti: 606, 65365
Nagarjuna: 565
Padmavajra: 229, 325, 515
Ghantapa: 262, 514, 73821
Dombi Heruka: 228, 1071
Kukkuripa: 574, 628
Lawapa: 226, 233