Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Indian Adept (siddha) - Ghantapa

རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་གྲུབ་ཆེན། 印度大成就者
(item no. 262)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Size 41.27x25.40cm (16.25x10in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1996.12.5
Painting School Karma Gardri
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

TBRC: P8895

Interpretation / Description

Ghantapa, (Tibetan: dril bu pa, English: the One with the Bell); famous amongst the 84 mahasiddhas, embraces the consort while flying in the sky.

In the appearance of an Indian yogi, brown in colour, thoroughly embraced by the wisdom consort he holds in the two hands a gold vajra and bell. Adorned with a crown of dry skulls, gold bracelets and anklets, he wears a long blue scarf and a short skirt of red and green cloth.

Legend: the local King Devapala, who having insulted the mahasiddha, the latter now with vajra-anger and dropping a pot of alcohol, causes the Goddess of the Earth, at the upper left, to incur a flood. A regretful Devapala, with reverence calls out for help. On hearing the petition, instantly the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara appears standing at the bottom right, white in colour, with one face and two hands, wearing a krishnasara deer skin over the left shoulder, proceeds to save the kingdom by averting the flood. The king, requesting teachings, receives the parting words of the mahasiddha and consort as they ascend to the pureland of the Dakinis.

The mahasiddha Ghantapa is most famous within the Chakrasamvara lineage and plays a role as lineal guru within all the Sarma Schools.

Jeff Watt 10-98

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Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery VII
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