Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Shanglon (Minister)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 193)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Gelug
Size 87.00x60.33cm (34.25x23.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.21.5
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Sinpoi Tsowo Jigje Mar (English: Master of Daemons, Red Terrifying One): one of eight attendant figures in the retinue of Mahakala Gonpo Shanglon belonging to the 'Revealed Treasure' Tradition (terma) of the Yutog Nyingtig discovered by Yutog Yontan Gonpo. (See the Shanglon Main Page, Outline Page, Yutog Nyingtig Main Page, and Yutog Nyingtig Outline Page).

"In south west is the demon Dradul Jigje, maroon in colour, fierce, fearful and very frightening, with one face and two hands. The upper teeth extend down and press on the nipples of the chest. The lower teeth extend upward to the forehead; eating a human corpse. On the crown of the head is a wolf face with the mouth open and howling. The right hand holds a sword upraised to the sky. The left [hand] holds a trident and a lasso of intestines. Wearing a fresh human skin [he] rides atop a nine-headed zombie." (Page 333-334).

Maroon in colour, frightful in appearance, he has three round bloodshot eyes and canine teeth that extend beyond the face. Dark yellow matted hair surrounds a single white skull tiara and a blue wolf head adorns the crown. The lower two canine teeth extend upwards above the crown of the head. The upper two canine teeth extend downwards and press against the right and left nipples on the chest.

Adorned with gold earrings and bone ornaments, a grey human skin is draped across the shoulders and covers the back. The right hand extended upward holds a sword and the left a trident. Seated atop a nine-headed zombie he is surrounded by orange and red flames. (See three different Initiation Card Sets for depictions of all nine protector figures).

At the top center is Sikyong (protector of the world) Sanggye Gyatso. The extended right hand holds a medicinal plant and the left, in the lap, holds a gold Dharma wheel held respectfully with a white scarf. Also from the left hand, rising on a stem held between the fingers is a pink lotus blossom supporting the Prajnaparamita book and wisdom sword. (See the Mistress of Dakinis, Red Wolf Tongue, from the same set of paintings).

Jeff Watt 11-2000 [updated 1-2014]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Tibetan Medicine Main Page
Mahakala: Shanglon Dorje Dudul Main Page
Painting Style: Men-ri (New)
Subject: Weird Gods & Fantastical Deities
Buddhist Protectors: Worldly (Nyingma)
Buddhist Protectors: Worldly (Gelug)
Buddhist Protectors: Worldly (Female)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 5
Buddhist Protector: Shanglon, Retinue Figures (Miscellaneous)
Subject: Weird & Off Topics Main Page
Exhibition: The Art of Tibetan Medicine
Exhibition: Big!
Subject: Yutog Nyingtig Terma Cycle