Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vajradhara Buddha

རྡོ་རྗེ་འཆང། སངས་རྒྱས། 金刚持
(item no. 17)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Drigung (Kagyu)
Size 67.31x48.90cm (26.50x19.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.10.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Vajradhara, Buddha (Tibetan: dor je chang, sang gye. English: the Vajra Holder, Enlightened One). The primordial buddha, personification of the dharmakaya - truth body of enlightenment and progenitor of the Vajrayana system of buddhism accompanied by 45 of the famous Eighty-four Mahasiddhas according to the Vajrasana System.

Sanskrit: Vajradhara Tibetan: Dor je chang

In a peaceful appearance, dark blue in colour, with a smiling face, he holds the two hands folded across the heart in the mudra of non-duality. The right hand holds a vajra sceptre and the left a vajra-handled bell. Beautifully adorned with a crown of gold and jewels, red hair ribbons, earrings, necklaces and bracelets he wears an upper garment of green brocade silk and a lower garment of various colours. Seated in vajra posture with the legs interlocked atop a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus and lion supported throne he is surrounded by a yellow and blue nimbus and blue areola of ornate design - completely surrounded by red flower blossoms and green leaves.

Encircling Vajradhara are 45 of the famous mahasiddhas of India each portrayed in a standard iconographic form. At the top left is Arya Nagarjuna. Fourth from the left is Virupa with the right hand raised up to the sun and the left holding a skullcup. At the far right Dombhi Heruka rides a tiger and in the corner Ghantapa flies in the air with his mystic consort. Along the bottom red margin runs an inscription in fine gold lettering.

Jeff Watt 2-99

Transcending Time: An Explanation of the Kalacakra Six-Session Guru Yoga. Gen Lamripa, Trans. B. Alan Wallace. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1999.

Related Items
Publication: Visual Dharma (Object List)

Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 6
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara Main Page
Painting Set: Rechung Nyan Gyu Lineage
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara & Eighty-four Mahasiddhas
Tibet: Painting (West Tibet)
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara, Solitary
Tradition: Drigung Kagyu Main Page
Subject: Vajrasana Mahasiddha (Miscellaneous)
Subject: Vajrasana Mahasiddha System