Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Nairatmya (Buddhist Deity)

རྡོ་རྗེ་བདག་མེད་མ། 无我佛母(萨迦派本尊)
(item no. 30555)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Metal
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Vajra Nairatmya (Tib.: dor je dag me ma. English: the Selfless One, or Egoless One): from the Hevajra and Samputa Tantras - both early and important texts of the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism. Nairatmya is a meditational deity and partner to Hevajra. There are many different forms and combinations of forms for the two deities, alone, or as a couple in ecstatic embrace.

This sculpture, commissioned by Chokyi Zangpo, would have been part of a set depicting either the abbreviated or extensive lineage of the Sakya Lamdre cycle of teachings - also known as the Margapala - the Path Together with the Result. It is a common practice when commissioning a large set of sculpture or paintings to solicit friends, family, or village families to each sponsor a single object thus spreading the financial cost over many people rather than just one.

"Vajra Nairatma, [with] a body black in colour, one face and two hands. The right [hand] holds aloft a curved knife and the left a skullcup to the heart, and carrying a katvanga [in the bend of] the elbow. Having three eyes and bared fangs. Yellow hair bristling upwards. A crown of five dry human skulls and a necklace of fifty. Adorned with the five ornaments of bone. Wearing a lower garment of tiger skin. Standing on a corpse seat in a dancing manner with the left leg extended in a half [vajrasana] posture." (Konchog Lhundrub, 1497-1557).

Jeff Watt 2-2014

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