Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Marichi (Buddhist Deity) - (3 faces, 6 hands)

འོད་སེར་ཅན་མ། ནང་ལྷ། 具光佛母(佛教本尊)
(item no. 2110)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1300 - 1399
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Marichi Twenty-five Deity Mandala based on the famous text known as the Vajravali attributed to Abhayakaragupta (11th century). The set of Mandalas described typically has forty-two compositions and was commissioned in honour of Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen (1312-1375 [p1226]).

There is no inscription at the bottom right corner to identify the donor figure. According to one possible reading of an inscription on another composition in the set the paintings are attributed to Chen-nga Chenpo (1310-1370) the son of Pagdru Jangchub Gyaltsen. Chen-nga was offered the title of Chen-nga when he returned to Densatil in the 1360s, however he passed away before Lama Dampa. Is it possible that this set of paintings was created to honour Lama Dampa by his devoted student while both were still alive which would place the date of creation roughly between 1365 and 1370?

Making things more complicated, there is also some evidence that the nephew of Jangchub Gyaltsen may have also had the title of Chen-nga.

Lineage Composition Type: There are four types of Lineage Composition in Himalayan style art: Linear, Alternating, Dual and Asymmetrical. This composition employs the Alternating Lineage. This type of lineage is more commonly found with paintings after the 15th century up to the present day.

In this composition the lineage teachers depicted are: at the top center Drung Chokyi Je (Lama Dampa) with the two hands in the vajra embracing gesture, wearing monastic attire, and a crown. This figure is repeated in the top registers of all of the known examples from this painting set save for one composition. In that example Lama Dampa is shifted one position to the left and the top of a stupa rises from the mandala to take the top center position.

To the viewer's left is Vajradhara, blue in colour, followed by Gewa'i Jungne, Shubhakara Gupta, Ladrangpa (Sakya Tridzin Lhakang Labrang?), Vikhyatashri (Namshelha), and Guru Bhadrashri.

To the right side is the female deity Vajrayogini, red in colour, Abhayakaragupta (Abhayadatta), Ratna Rakshita, Chag Lotsawa, Shangpa, and Lama Labrang Gongma (Sakya Tridzin Zhitog Lhabrang?).

At the bottom right is a donor figure seated in front of a small offering shrine. The full name inscription of Lama Dampa at the top center and the donor figure at the bottom right or left are so far only found on one of the known paintings from the set. (See HAR #58302).

Marichi (yellow, three faces, six arms)

Four Directions:
Arkamasi, East Red
Markamasi, South Yellow
Antaradhanamasi, West Yellow
Tejomasi, North Red

Four Intermediate Directions:

Second Circle:
Mahatsivaramasi & Varahamukhi, East Black
Sadakramasi & Warali, South Yellow
Parakramasi & Badali, West Red
Uramasi & Varali, North Green

Outer Four Corners:
Batali (1), Red
Batali (2), Yellow
Varali, White
Varahamukhi, Red

Four Door Guardians:
Alo, White East
Talo, Yellow South
Kalo, Red West
Satsalo, Green North

At the bottom center is Chaturbhuja Mahakala followed on the right side by Shri Devi, Vaishravana 'Secret Accomplishment', Black Jambhala, Vasudhara and a donor figure in the corner.

Jeff Watt 9-2016

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: 19th Mandala: Twenty-five [Deity] Marichi Mandala in the Cycle of the Tara Group.

Reverse of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: om sarva vidya svaha / om marichiye svaha / ??? / om ye dharma hetu prabhava hetum tesham tathagato hyavadat tesham cha yo nirodha evam vadi maha shramana svaha / Om supra tishtha vajraye svaha. Om supra tishtha vajraye svaha.

Special Features: (Ranjana script (Ornamental Sanskrit), includes "Om Ah Hum" inscription)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Vajravali Main Page
Painting Set: Vajravali (Lama Dampa Set)
Collection: Bonhams on HAR (Painting & Sculpture. Hong Kong Fall 2016)
Buddhist Deity: Marichi (Mandalas)
Iconography: Text Collections (Abhaya Group)
Mandala: Sakya Masterworks
Subject: Vajravali Painting Set Page
Essay: Marichi, Shingon & Tibetan Buddhist Comparison
Subject: Generic Figures
Buddhist Deity: Marichi Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Marichi (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Marichi Iconography
Buddhist Deity: Marichi in a Stupa
Subject: Chronological List of Works