|1800 - 1899
|Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
|Shelley & Donald Rubin
Dombi Heruka, Mahasiddha: the Indian master of Tantric methods from the group of Eighty-four famous mahasiddhas. The iconography of this siddha is based on a text by Jonang Taranata in the early 17th century. The painting belongs to a nine painting composition popularized by Situ Panchen in the 18th century.
In a dynamic embrace, Dombi Heruka with one face and two hands gazes intently with large eyes at the face of the light skinned consort. In the right hand held upraised is a writhing green black-spotted snake that serves as a riding whip. The left arm cradles the consort, in the hand a skullcup filled with nectar. The hair is piled on the crown of the head and tied with red ribbon, adorned with one ornament of a white skull at the front. Gold and jewel earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets further adorn the couple. Dombi wears a red loincloth and the consort raising a white skullcup in the left hand also carries a corpse across the thigh. Atop a fierce tiger, with the head turned back to feast with the eyes on the amorous couple, they ride without concern in an idyllic forest setting of mating birds in the foreground and waterfowl sporting in the dark blue pond behind. Dombi Heruka along with Kanha (Krishnapada) were the two main students of mahasiddha Virupa.
At the top center is the peaceful bodhisattva Vajrapani, blue in colour with one face and two hands. The right hand placed at the heart holds the stem of a white lotus flower supporting an upright gold vajra standing on the full blossom. The left hand is extended across the left knee in a leisurely manner. Adorned with a crown, gold and jewel ornaments, flowing silks of various colours, he sits in a relaxed posture with the left leg pendant atop a moon disc and white lotus flower - radiating a nimbus of rainbow light.
Jeff Watt 2-99