Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Hayagriva (Buddhist Deity) - Black

རྟ་མགྲིན། ནང་ལྷ། 马头明王(佛教本尊)
(item no. 24)
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.1.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Hayagriva, Black (Tibetan: ta drin nag po, English: the Black Horse Necked One); fierce activity deity of the Lotus Buddha Family. Dagyal Tradition.

Wrathful in appearance, dark blue in colour, he has one face and two hands. Having three round eyes, a mouth opened wide and yellow hair flowing upward like flame, at the crown of the head is a small green horse head looking to the side. The right hand holds aloft the blue sword of wisdom with a gold vajra handle. The left holds a vajra lasso at the side. Adorned with a crown of five skulls, ribbons, earrings and a garland of human heads, he wears long garments of brown and black - tied with a green sash. With green boots exposed and an undergarment of tiger skin he tramples atop various figures, above a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus seat surrounded by the bright orange flames of pristine awareness.

At the top center a lama figure wearing the robes of a monk and a pandita hat performs the mudra of earth witness with both hands extended across the knees. Adorned with a kila dagger tucked in the sash he wears a meditation cloak and sits on a cushion seat. At the right is buddha Amitabha, red, with the hands placed in the lap. In the corner is Amitayus, buddha of long-life, red, wearing various ornaments and holding a vase. Below is the bodhisattva Sadaksari Avalokiteshvara, white, with four hands. And below that is Medicine Guru buddha, blue, holding a myrobalan flower in the right hand and a begging bowl in the left. At the top left is Padmasambhava, holding a vajra in the right hand and a skullcup in the lap. In the corner is Shakyamuni buddha. Below are three buddhas, the first performing the mudra of blessing at the heart, the second performing the teaching mudra and the third, Akshobhya, blue, holding a gold upright vajra in the left hand placed in the lap.

At the bottom center is the bodhisattva Tara, green, performing the mudra of generosity with the right hand and holding the stem of a lotus flower to the heart with the left. At the left side is the wealth deity yellow Jambhala holding a bijapuraka fruit in the extended right hand and a mongoose in the left. At the right is yellow Vasudhara, goddess of wealth, holding a flower stem in the extended right and the mudra of blessing at the heart with the left. The green open landscape is strewn with wishing jewels, two gold vases and skullcup bowls filled with wrathful offerings.

Jeff Watt 3-99

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Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva, Black