Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Teacher (Lama) - Yutog Yontan Gonpo

བླ་མ། 喇嘛
(item no. 185)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Nyingma, Gelug and Buddhist
Size 58.42x40.64cm (23x16in)
Material Raised Gold, Red Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.22.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Lay Person

Gender: Male

TBRC: P3005

Interpretation / Description

Yutog Yontan Gonpo (12th century): the Physician King of Tibet, with the Five Buddhas above and the tutelary deity Hayagriva below. There are allegedly two Yutog Yontan Gonpos - referred to as the Elder and Younger. The younger Yutog is the originator of the Yutog Nyingtig cycle of 'Revealed Treasure' teachings.

Pleasant in appearance and clean shaven he stretches the right arm forward across the knee in the mudra (gesture) of generosity while holding the stem of a pink lotus flower blossoming over the shoulder supporting the wisdom book and sword. The left placed at the heart holds the stem of another lotus, blossoming over the left shoulder, supporting a gold vajra and medicinal nectar vase topped with precious jewels. With a headdress of red flower blossoms, he wears a long flowing garment typical of a layman, trimmed with blue and tied with a red sash. Atop a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus resting on a rock outcropping, he sits surrounded by a blue-orange nimbus and dark green aureola. In front, an ornate table supports a large bowl of myrobalan fruit, precious jewels and the like.

At the top center is the buddha Akshobhya with one face and two hands holding to the heart with the right a vajra sceptre and with the left a skullcup in the lap. Seated in vajra posture he embraces the consort. At the left is buddha Ratnasambhava holding a jewel to the heart and embracing the consort. Below is buddha Vairochana holding a wheel to the heart. At the right is buddha Amitabha holding a lotus flower. Below is buddha Amoghasiddhi holding a visva-vajra to the heart. All are in similar appearance, embracing a consort, seated on a lotus blossom and surrounded by radiant light.

At the middle right and left are four standing goddesses holding a flute, horn, lute and a mirror. Beautiful in appearance with flowing garments they stand on lotus seats surrounded by light.

At the bottom center is Medicine Buddha in the form of a wrathful tutelary deity, Black Hayagriva, with one face, three eyes and upward flowing hair, the top of the head crowned with a single green horse head. The right hand holds aloft a curved knife and in the left a skullcup to the heart - embracing the consort. On the back of Hayagriva two large black wings are unfurled. In a fierce posture with the right leg bent and left straight he stands upon two reclining bodies above a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom completely surrounded by the orange and red flames of the fires of pristine awareness. At the right and left stand four goddesses each with one face and two hands holding aloft in the right a curved knife and a skullcup to the heart with the left, carrying a katvanga staff in the bend of the elbow. Adorned with a tiara of five skulls and various bone ornaments, they each stand on the left leg in a dancing posture atop a corpse, sun disc and lotus seat surrounded by a nimbus of radiant light.

The figure of Yutog Yontan Gonpo is often portrayed surrounded by the five buddhas above, the eight Medicine Goddesses at the sides, his special tutelary deity Black Hayagriva accompanied by four goddesses below. The protector Mahakala Shanglon Dorje Dradul typically placed at the bottom center is accompanied by eight fearsome wrathful protector deities with one face and two or four hands, each riding an animal mount. Four of the retinue figures ride atop wild animal or zombie mounts and each of those has nine heads. (See # 192, #193. The style of painting is called 'tsal thang' - gold on a vermilion ground.

Tibetan Texts associated with Yutog Yontan Gonpo and the Yutog Nyingtig.

Jeff Watt 8-99

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publication: Selection of Works - Painting (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Exhibition: The Art of Tibetan Medicine
Subject: Yutog Nyingtig Guruyoga
Subject: Yutog Nyingtig Terma Cycle
Subject: Guruyoga Iconography Page
Subject: Tibetan Medicine Main Page
Tradition: Nyingma Teachers (Paintings)
Teacher: Yutog Yontan Gonpo Religious Context & Iconography
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 6
Painting Type: Red Background
Subject: Painting Atelier (Red Ground)
Teacher: Yutog Yontan Gonpo Page