Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Ganapati (Indian God & Buddhist Deity) - Red (4 hands)

ཚོགས་བདག། ནང་ལྷ། 象鼻天(佛教本尊)
(item no. 207)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Size 28.58x21.59cm (11.25x8.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.13.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Animal-Feature

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Ganapati, Rakta (Tibetan: tsog gi dag po, mar po. English: the Red Lord of Hosts): a power deity and a wealth deity from the Terma (Revealed Treasure) Tradition of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. This form of the deity is undoubtedly based on the Atisha practice known as Ragavajra Ganapati.

Red in colour with a white elephant head and four hands, he holds a plate of Indian sweets, a white radish, a string of mala beads and a hook. The heels of the feet are supported by the hands of a blue monkey-headed goddess that stands on the backs of two small goddesses. Four attendant retinue figures, red in colour, with one face and two hands hold in the right a rope, hook, chain and bell. The left hands of each hold a bow and lasso. Seated at the top center is the Guru Padmasambhava.

Ragavajra Ganapati: "...glorious Ganapati, Ragavajra, body colour white, three faces, the main face is that of an elephant, the right a mouse, the left a monkey. With six arms the three right hold a vajra, turnip and sword. The three left hold [Indian] sweets, a skullcup filled with alchohol and a battle axe. The two back legs are placed [with one] bent and the other extended. The two inside legs are folded ... Adorned with jewels, a lotus garland and naked." (From a text in the tradition of Jowo Atisha, sgrub thabs kun btus vol.8).

Jeff Watt 11-2000 [updated 6-2016]

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of RMA: Iconographically Rare Works
Buddhist Deity: Ganapati Religious Context
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Tradition: Nyingma Deity Paintings
Subject: Animal Headed/Features Gods & Deities (Buddhist)
Buddhist Deity: Ganapati Main Page
Subject: Weird Gods & Fantastical Deities
Subject: Wealth Deities Main Page
Subject: Deity Colours - Red (Powerful Activities)
Subject: Monkey Imagery Page
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 3
Subject: Weird & Off Topics Main Page
Subject: Ithyphallic Art
Buddhist Deity: Ganapati (Nyingma Tradition)
Subject: Controversial Art Main Page