Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Kurukulla (Buddhist Deity) - Four Armed

ཀུ་རུ་ཀུ་ལེ། ནང་ལྷ། 作明佛母(佛教本尊)
(item no. 24079)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Kurukulla (Tibetan: rig che ma. English: The One of the Action Family): Goddess of Power.

"...the Goddess Kurukulla, with a body red in colour, one face and four arms. The first two hands hold an utpala bow and arrow drawn to the ear. The lower right holds a hook that subdues the Three Worlds, the lower left an utpala noose; with short fangs, the face is slightly smiling and slightly angry, with three eyes and adorned with two beautiful breasts, having the youthful form of sixteen years, with brown hair flowing upwards, adorned with five skulls having the nature of the Five Families as a crown, a necklace of fifty fresh heads and five ornaments of bone, wearing a tiger skin as a lower garment, standing on a human corpse with the head turned to the left, with the left leg extended. The toes of the right are placed on the thigh, as in a half vajra [posture] dancing manner, dwelling in the midst of a beautiful circle of sun rays, visible, but not solid, like the form of illusion." (Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub (1497-1557). sGrub Thabs Kun bTus, vol.8, folios 528-555).

"Culmination of the pristine awareness and compassion of all conquerors,
Well arising as the bliss-emptiness - Goddess of Power,
Controlling all beings of the three realms with a charming form;
Homage to the Dakini." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

At the top left is Amitabha Buddha, red in colour. At the top right side is Chokyi Gyaltsen, the 1st Panchen Lama wearing his stylized yellow pandita hat.

At the bottom center is the power deity Takkiraja with the consort Sukha Barati.

"...Mahakrodha Takkiraja with a body red in colour, like ruby, blazing with light like the disc of the sun. With one face, two hands and three eyes, the right holds aloft a hook to gather in the Three Realms, the left holds a noose to the heart in a wrathful gesture. Standing in a manner with the right leg drawn in and the left extended, having long hair tied in a top knot, adorned with jewels and snakes and wearing a red silk upper garment and various silks as a lower garment. In the lap is the mother, Sukha Bharati, with a body red in colour, one face, two hands and three eyes. The right is holding aloft a hook and the left holds a nectar filled vase and embraces the Father. The right foot is extended and the left in the manner of embracing the Father; adorned with jewel ornaments and a wearing a red silk upper garment and various silk lower garments. Both the Father and Mother stand in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Written by Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub (1497-1557). sGrub Thabs Kun bTus, vol.8).

This form of Takkiraja belongs to a set known as the 'marchen kor sum' or the Three Great Red Deities included in a larger set called 'The Thirteen Golden Dharmas' of Sakya. The other two are Kurukulla and Maharakta Ganapati.

Jeff Watt 2-2016

Reverse of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Right four, Kurukulla.

Special Features: (Cursive script (Umay))

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Kurukulla Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Kurukulla Masterworks
Collection: Christies New York (Painting. March, 2016)
Painting Style: Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
Buddhist Deity: Kurukulla Religious Context