Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Khyung (Bon Deity)

ཁྱུང་། བོན་ལྷ། 大鹏(苯教本尊)
(item no. 200031)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Bon
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.51.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Khyung Ngonpo (English: the Blue [King] of Birds), a tutelary deity from the Zhang Zhung Meri cycle of Tantra.

Staring forward, with three bird faces, blue in colour, the central face has two round eyes, two horns and the head crowned with a precious jewel, yellow hair flows upward. The face on the right is white and left red. The central beak clutches the torso of a snake held in the first pair of hands. The remaining hands extend to the sides each grasping a snake. Blue unfurled wings stretch outward. Bone necklaces, bracelets and armlets adorn the upper body and the lower torso is covered with yellow feathers. With the two taloned feet standing upon two serpent (lhu) creatures (half human-half snake), atop a multi-coloured lotus blossom he is surrounded by a circle of orange flames. Four attendant Bird Deity (khyung) figures surround the central deity, one faced, two-armed, green, red, blue and yellow. Each clutches a snake with the hands and beak. A red table filled with offerings stands in front.

At the top center, the Enlightened One Kuntu Zangpo is black and naked, surrounded by a sphere of light. Directly below is the wrathful tutelary deity Walse Ngampa with nine heads and eighteen hands, blue in colour. Lama figures sit at the right and left.

Four additional retinue figures stand at the bottom center. Each has a human body, animal face and khyung wings; the hands clutch a snake. At the bottom right is a red Khandroma (Sky Goer) with a tiger face, holding a curved knife and skullcup. At the bottom left is a worldly protector in the appearance of a red Rock (tsen) daemon wearing armour, carrying suitable weapons and riding a horse. The lush green mountain landscape scene is populated with wild animals and the sky filled with blue and white billowing clouds.

Jeff Watt & Lee Hartline 1-2000

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Bon: Artworks (All)
Bon: Wrathful Deities Main Page
Exhibition: Bon, The Magic Word (RMA 2007)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Bon Artworks
Bon Deity: Kyung (Eagle)
Subject: Bird Headed Deities