Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Rahula (Buddhist Protector)

སྒྲ་གཅན་འཛིན། སྲུང་མ། 罗护罗(护法)
(item no. 169)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma
Size 75.57x48.26cm (29.75x19in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.10.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Rahula (Tibetan: kyab jug): wrathful protector of the Revealed Treasure Tradition. (This object is the same as Wisdom Calendar HAR #77159).

Fiercely wrathful, black in colour, with nine heads, each face has three large eyes and a gaping mouth with exposed fangs. The right faces are green, left red and the central black, the top central face is white. On the stomach is the large face of the original Rahula who devoured the nine celestial planets. The body is covered with numerous eyes. In the first pair of hands are a drawn bow and arrow. The second right holds aloft a makara stick and the left a snake lasso. Adorned with crowns of five skulls and gold earrings he wears a green scarf and various coloured lower garments. The lower body is that of a coiled naga serpent, dark blue in colour, rising out of a blood filled black triangle enclosure; surrounded by orange flames and black smoke. In a skullcup in front is a large triangular red torma offering (stylized food) with two more offering skullcups arranged at the sides of the enclosure.

"From a fierce E [syllable] in a realm equal to space, the Lord arises out of wrathful activity, smoky, with nine heads, four hands and a thousand blazing eyes; homage to the Great Rahula - Protector of the Teachings." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

To the right and left are four attendant figures red, blue, green and white. Each has an animal face and two hands holding a curved knife and skullcup wearing a tiger skin skirt, in a dancing posture. The surrounding landscape is populated with wild creatures such as bears, Leopards and tigers.

At the top center is the wrathful bodhisattva Vajrapani, blue, with one face and four hands. At the left is Manjushri, yellow, holding a sword and wisdom book. At the right is Sadaksari Avalokiteshvara, white with one face and four hands.

Along the top and bottom are 8 retinue figures identical in colour, faces and arms to the central form of the protector Rahula.

Jeff Watt 10-98

Wisdom Calendar 1998 - February (full catalog list)

Related Items
Publication: Wisdom Publications: Calendar Collection

Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Rahula - Main Figure (Painting)
Buddhist Protectors, Worldly Deities (Lokapala)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Buddhist Protectors: Worldly (Nyingma)
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Rahula Main Page