Himalayan Art Resources

Glossary: Function & Relationships Guide

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This list is primarily iconographic in relating various functions to the different deities. There are some references to people where the unique function characterises that person, such as Milarepa with song, Tangtong Gyalpo with theatre and iron working, and Drugpa Kunleg as a trickster.

Alchemy: Mahasiddha Vyalipa

Architecture: all deities with Mandalas have detailed architectural descriptions of a palace at the center

Asceticism: Sixteen Arhats, Prince Siddhartha, Mahasiddha Achinta, Milarepa, Rechungpa, Ling Repa.

Activity: Tara, Amoghasiddhi Buddha

Air/Sky: Garuda, Dakini, Daka, Amitabha Pureland, Vayu, Vatadhara

Animals: see Animals Relationships Guide/Glossary

Anthropomorphic: see Animal Headed Gods & Deities

Art: God of Art, Sangpo Bumtri

Astrology: Kalachakra, Manjushri, Golden Tortoise

Baker: Mahasiddha Pacharipa

Black Colour: black-coloured deities, Wrathful Deities, Black Manjushri, Black Garuda, Mahakala

Blacksmith: Damchen Garwa Nagpo, Mahasiddha Kamparipa

Blue Colour: Wrathful Deities, blue-coloured deities

Boots: Mountain Deities & Himalayan Worldly Gods, Begtse Chen, Tibetan Kings

Boot Maker: Mahasiddha Upanaha

Caves: Kurukulla, Maharakta Ganapati, Sage of Long-life, Arhat Ajita, Padmasambhava Dorje Drolo

Cemeteries: Charnel Grounds & Cemeteries, Shmashana Adhipati (Chitipati), Mahakala, Wrathful Deities

Central Asia: Vaishravana, Dharmatala

Chariot: Marichi, Chandra, Surya, Tonpa Shenrab, Prince Siddhartha

Charnel Grounds: see Cemeteries

Children: Hvashang, Hariti, Tara w/child

China: Manjushri, Mount Wutaishan, Guan Yu, Sage of Long-life, Nampar Gyalwa, Hvashang, Sixteen Arhats, Four Guardian Kings, Amitabha Buddha

Cloak: Bernagchen Mahakala and other forms of Danda Mahakala

Clouds: Bernagchen Mahakala, Ekajati, Nagas, Dragons

Cobbler: Mahasiddha Chamaripa

Colour: see Colour Outline

Commerce/Business: Dorje Shugden, Trabshe Lhamo, Wealth Deities Outline

Confession: Thirty-five Confession Buddhas, Vajrasattva, Shakyamuni Buddha

Cosmology: Six Buddhas of the Six Realms, Yewel Thutob Gyalpo, Impermanence/Yama (Wheel of Life)

Couples: see Couples in Himalayan Art

Cow Herder: Mahasiddha Goraksha

Creator Gods/Myths: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Sangpo Bumtri, Kalachakra, Golden Tortoise, Manjushri

Dawn: Marichi

Dance: Shiva, Padmajala Lokeshvara, Eight Offering Goddesses, Sixteen Offering Goddesses

Death: Yama, Vajrabhairava, Krishna Yamari, Rakta Yamari, Maha Vairochana Sarvadurgati, Bardo Thodal, Amitabha Buddha

Divination: Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo, Manjushri, Ling Gesar, Pehar, Nechung Gyalpo, Dorje Setrab, Dorje Shugden, Worldly Gods & Deities

Drums: [Indian Siddhas] Damarupa, Virya, Mitra Yogin. [Tibetan] Padampa Sanggye, Machig Labdron, Khon Lineage Set, Naro Bonchung. [Deities] Chemchog, Vajrayogini (Naropa), Shadbhuja Mahakala, Twelve Goddesses of Tibet, Yudronma.

Earth: Worldy Gods, Mountain Gods

Eclipse: Rahula

Environment: Black Manjushri, Simhamukha, Parnashavari, Nagas, Dragons

Epilepsy: Rahula

Eroticism: Shiva & Parvati, Ganapati, Yogambara, Karma Yoga

Farmer: Mahasiddha Kotalipa, Mahasiddha Medhini

Fear: Green Tara, Sitatapatra, Pancha Raksha

Fertility: Pratisara (Pancha Raksha), Tara w/child

Fire: Agni, Wrathful Deities, Charnel Grounds, Hell Realms.

Flags & Banners: Dvajagrakeyura, Vaishravana

Forests: Arhats, Parnashavari

Fruit: Yellow Jambhala, Medicine Buddha, Parnashavari

Gambler: Mahasiddha Tantepa

Gods: Hindu Gods, Mountain Gods

Green Colour: Activity Deities

Harvest: Pancha Raksha

Hats: Mountain & Worldly Gods, Religious Teachers

Health: see Medicine & Tantric Healing, Medicine Buddha, Yoga

Hell: Bardo Thodal

Heroes: Ling Gesar

High Gods: Indra, Shiva, Vishnu

Hunting: Jataka & Avadana Stories, The Golden Deer, The Lion King, Mahasiddha Shavaripa, Mahasiddha Godhuripa, History of Tibet, Milarepa, Namka Palzang, Drugpa Kunleg, Do Kyentse Yeshe Dorje

Increase: Wealth Deities, Wisdom Deities, Longevity Deities.

Ithyphallic: Shiva, Lha Chenpo, Black Jambhala, Vajrabhairava, Yama Dharmaraja

Krishnasara Deer Skin: Avalokiteshvara, Amoghapasha, Maitreya

Language: Sarasvati

Law/Justice: Yama Dharmaraja, Tibetan Kings

Light: Amitabha Buddha, Vairochana Buddha, Marichi

Longevity: Amitayus Buddha, White Tara, Ushnishavijaya, Amaravajradevi

Lotus Flower: Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Amitabha Buddha

Love: Kurukulla, Takkiraja, Kama

Lunar Deities: Shiva, Chandra, Bhimaratha Ritual

Mandala: most Meditational Deities reside within a Mandala

Marriage: Shiva, Parvati

Medicine: Yeje Tutob Gyalpo, Medicine Buddha, Yutog Nyingtig, Shanglon (Yutog Nyingtig)

Meditational Deity:

Metaphor: see Metaphor & Imagery in Tantric Art

Millenarianism: Maitreya Bodhisattva, Kalachakra, Ling Gesar

Mongolia: Vajrapani, Begtse, White Six-armed Mahakala, Zanabazar

Monsters: Rakshas, Yakshas, Nagas, Mountain Gods, Rahula

Mosquitoes: Chakrasamvara

Mother Earth: Prithidevi, Parnashavari

Mountains: Arhats, Parvati, Shiva, Chakrasamvara, Manjushri, Samantabhadra, Mountain Gods & Goddesses Outline

Music: Gandharvas, Sarasvati, Dhritarashtra, Mahasiddha Vinapa

Nagas/Snakes: Manasa, Janguli, Simhanada, Buddha Nagaraja

Orange Colour: Deities of Abundance, or Increase, and Wealth Deities

Palace: all deities with mandalas have a palace at the center, many Worldly & Mountain Deities also have a palace

Pearl Diver: Mahasiddha Samudra

Poetry: Sarasvati

Protection: Buddhist Protectors Outline, Worldly Protectors

Potter: Mahasiddha Kumbharipa

Power: see Power Deities Outline

Primordial Pairs: see Couples in Art

Purelands & Buddhafields: Amitabha Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, Kalachakra, Medicine Buddha, Vajrayogini, Padmasambhava

Purification: Vajravidarana, Vajrasattva, Vajradaka, Thirty-five Confession Buddhas

Rainbow: Rainbow Body, White Tara, Tagla Membar (retinue figure), Bon Deities

Red Colour: Power Deities

Rivers: Nagas

Rope Maker: Mahasiddha Dhahulipa

Royalty: Guhyasamaja, Manjushri, Prince Siddhartha (life-story), Indian & Tibetan Kings

Scholars: Six Ornaments & Two Excellent Ones, see Wisdom Deities Outline

Science: Yewang Sai Gyalpo

Seasons: Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo, Sipai Gyalmo

Sickness/Disease: Medicine Buddha, Parnashavari, Bhurkumkuta, Simhanada Lokeshvara, Buddha Nagaraja, Garuda

Sky: Garuda, Daka & Dakini, Maitri Vajrayogini

Slave: Mahasiddha Darikapa

Snakes: see Nagas/Snakes

Song: Sarasvati, Milarepa

Stupa: Shakyamuni Buddha, Maitreya, Marichi, Ushnishavijaya

Sun: Surya, Vishnu, Marichi

Sword: Manjushri, Akashagarbha, Achala, Begtse, Shri Devi, Hayagriva, Chaturmukha Mahakala, Chaturbhuja Mahakala, Tagla Membar, Yeshe Walmo

Tailor: Mahasiddha Kantalipa

Time: Kalachakra, Sipai Gyalmo, Mahakala

Theatre: Tangtong Gyalpo, Danza Rabjaa

Tibet: Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Mountain Deities

Travel: Lam Lha

Trees: Field of Accumulation, Marichi, Shakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha

Tricksters: Mara, Drugpa Kunleg

Umbrella: Sitatapatra, Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo

Underworld/Hell: Yama, Wheel of Life

Vajra Scepter: Vajrapani, Vajravidarana, Hevajra, Akshobhya Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha

Vegetarianism: Sarasvati, Manjushri, Maha Vairochana, Peaceful Deities, Wisdom Deities, Kriya, Charya and Yoga Tantra Deities

War: Indra, Hevajra, Shambhala

Washerman: Mahasiddha Dhobipa

Water: Nagas, Makaras, Dragons, Medicine Buddha, Sarasvati

Water Flask: Maitreya, Amoghapasha, Avalokiteshvara

Wealth: Ratnasambhava Buddha, Wealth Deities Outline

Weather: Hevajra, White Achala

Weaver: Mahasiddha Tantipa

White Colour: Peaceful Deities, Healing & Purification

Wisdom/Knowledge: Sarasvati, Ganesha, Manjushri, Prajnaparamita, Maitreya, Wisdom Deities Outline, Six Ornaments & Two Excellent Ones

Wrathful:

Yellow Colour: Deities of Abundance, or Increase, and Wealth Deities


Jeff Watt, December 31st, 2008 [updated 8-2016, 1-2017]