Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Chakrasamvara (Buddhist Deity) - (Luipa Tradition)

འཁོར་ལོ་བདེ་མཆོག། ནང་ལྷ། 勝樂金剛 (全图)
(item no. 12956)
Origin Location China
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground: Textile Image, Embroidery
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini according to the tradition of the Indian mahasiddha Luipa.

Chakrasamvara (Wheel of Bliss) is the name of a complex multi-faced and multi-armed Tantric Buddhist meditational deity. He is dark blue in colour, with four faces and twelve arms. Each hand holds a different attribute. In a standing posture he is in union with his consort Vajrayogini, red in colour, with one face and two hands. When Vajrayogini appears with a pig face on the side or top of the head she is then called Vajravarahi. In this example there is no pig face or head to be seen. Below the feet are the prone figures of red Kalaratri and black Bhairava.

Deity figures such as these have a complicated appearance because they embody a specific metaphor and function as a mnemonic device (memory system) for advanced Tantric theory and meditational practice. There are many different physical appearances of the deity depending on the various source Sanskrit literature. In Tibet there are approximately fifty different traditions for the practice of Chakrasamvara.

At the top left side is the mahasiddha Luipa appearing as in Indian ascetic. At the top right side is an unidentified Tibetan figure wearing monastic robes and the yellow pandita hat of the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. At the bottom center of the composition is the protector deity special to the Chakrasamvara system of practice, Vajra Chaturbhuja Mahakala. He is black, or dark blue, in colour with one face and four hands, seated in an active posture, surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness fire.

Jeff Watt 6-2018

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publication: Zhiguan Museum (Article)

Thematic Sets
Publication: Zhiguan Museum (Chinese Language Article)
Collection of Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art (RMA 2019)
Buddhist Deity: Chakrasamvara (Textiles)
Buddhist Deity: Chakrasamvara Main Page
Textile Set: Deities (Palace Workshop)
Collection: Sotheby's New York (Painting. September, 2015)
Collection: Sotheby's on HAR
Collection of Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art