Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - (Main Form)

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 160)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1200 - 1299
Lineages Nyingma, Shiche/Chöd, Kagyu and Buddhist
Size 48.26x36.83cm (19x14.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.26.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: King

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:P4956

Interpretation / Description

Padmasambhava accompanied by the two consorts Mandarava and Yeshe Tsogyal.

Video: Padmasambhava (HAR 160)

Pemasambhava Pema Jungne

The upper portion of the composition depicts Padmasambhava wearing a yellow hat and holding a vajra scepter in the right hand and a white skullcup in the left held in the lap. A katvanga Tantric staff rests against the left shoulder. On his right side stands Mandarava and on the left Yeshe Tsogyal.

The figure at the lower left with long white hair and a beard is an unidentified Tibetan teacher wearing the clothes of layman. The hands are placed in the gesture of teaching and he wears a meditation cloak. At the lower right is the six pointed double dharmakara mandala of Vajrayogini. This form of the deity is Krodha Kali, wrathful black one, with one face and two hands. On the top of the head is the face of a sow. She is accompanied by four retinue figures, yellow, red, white and green.

"...Bhagavani [Krodha Kali] with a great radiance at the time of darkness, fierce and raging. The main face is wrathful, the very pure relative truth, and the upper face of a pig is the pure ultimate truth, gazing upward; [both] having three round red eyes. The right hand holds a curved knife upraised and the left a skullcup of blood [held] to the heart. In the bend of the left elbow, as the nature of method, appears a katvanga staff. Wearing an elephant hide as an upper garment and a tiger skin as a lower garment; adorned with snakes and bones. Dark yellow hair bristles upward, the remainder falling loose. With a crown of five dry human skulls, a necklace of fifty fresh. The left leg is extended in a half dance posture pressing on the heart of a human corpse. Appearing youthful and dwelling in the middle of a blazing mass of fire." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (1646-1714) and Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718).

"From the pure, unborn, dharmadhatu palace; Fierce Vajra Black One, performing the benefit of beings; Entire treasure of all excellent and common attainments; Powerful Mistress, to you I bow." (Nyingma Liturgical verse).

Nyangral 'Revealed Treasure' Lineage: Unborn Krodha Kali, Orgyan Yab Yum, Nyang Yab Yum, Lha'i Sanggye Repa, Melong Dorje, Sherab Wangchug, Lodro Sengge, Yontan Dorje, Rinchen Ngodrub, Ngari Panchen, Kunga Lhundrub, Kunzang Paljor, Chowang Lhundrub, Rigdzin Trinle Lhundrub, etc.

Lineage from India: Vajradhara, Jnana Dakini, Virupa, Brahmin Aryadeva, Pha Dampa Sanggye (11th century), etc. The 11th century Nyingma Terton Nyangral Nyima Ozer (1124-1192) also revealed the Krodha Kali teachings and they became popular within his tradition and then with later Nyingma teachers.

The top register contains deity figures along with Indian and Tibetan Buddhist teachers. The registers descending at the two sides depict a buddha figure, an Indian teacher and what appears to be the Longku Totreng Rig Nga - a group of five forms of Padmasambhava in King Appearance - representing the Sambhogakaya. In the register on the right the lower figure has a similar appearance to Dorje Drolo - one of the eight special forms of Padmasambhava.

In the bottom register there are six figures. Beginning on the left is the worldly protector Vaishravana Riding a Lion followed by Chaturbhuja Mahakala (four arms), the related figure of Kakamukha Mahakala (raven faced) and three attendant figures riding three different animal mounts.

Although the central figure of Padmasambhava is very much representative of the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism there are also aspects of the Zhije and Kagyu traditions represented in the figures of Padampa Sanggye (top), Yogini Krodha Kali (lower left) and the Chaturbhuja Mahakala (bottom register).

Numbered List:
1. Padmasambhava
2. Mandarava
3. Yeshe Tsogyal
4. Tibetan Teacher (unidentified)
5. Krodha Kali Vajrayogini Mandala
6. Shakyamuni Buddha
7. Green Tara
8. Manjushri Riding a Lion (?)
9. Indian Teacher (unidentified)
10. Padampa Sanggye (?)
11. Tibetan Teacher (unidentified)
12. Buddha Figure
13. Indian Teacher Figure
14. King Figure (possibly the Longku Totreng Rig Nga)
15. King Figure
16. King Figure
17. King Figure
18. King Figure
19. Dorje Drolo-like Figure
20. Vaishravana Riding a Lion
21. Chaturbhuja Mahakala
22. Kakamukha mahakala
23. Retinue figure
24. Retinue figure
25. Retinue figure

Jeff Watt 1-2012

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: [There are no inscriptions on the front of the painting]

Reverse of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: [Vertical letters:] om ah hum tram om ah hum [Horizontal letters:] om hum tram hrih a [The letter tram appears once but can be read vertically and horizontally]

Special Features: (Printed script (Uchen), is black, is stupa-shaped, includes "Om Ah Hum" inscription)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Padmasambhava: Facial Expressions
Subject: Hats (Lotus Hat)
Padmasambhava Main Page
Teacher: Nyangral Nyima Ozer (Related Subjects)
Teacher: Nyangral Nyima Ozer
Painting Style: Western Tibetan
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin (Masterworks)
Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Padmasambhava: Iconography
Subject: Greyscale - Figurative & General Composition
Padmasambhava: Early Images (Primary & Secondary)
Painting: Early Works Main Page
Padmasambhava Early Images (Central Figure)