Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Nagaraja Buddha

སངས་རྒྱས་ཀླུའི་རྒྱལ་པོ། 龙王佛
(item no. 397)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Uncertain
Size 83.82x59.69cm (33x23.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.31.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Buddha Nagaraja (Tibetan: sang gye lu'i gyal po. English: the Enlightened One, King of Nagas).

Appearing in the classic form of a 'renounced one,' a nirmanakaya buddha, in the aspect of a monk, Nagaraja has one face and two hands, golden in colour. Held at the heart and joined in the gesture (mudra) 'which prevents lower rebirths' the index fingers of the two hands are pointed upward and touching while the remaining fingers are entwined. Beautiful, at peace, adorned with blue-black tufts of hair and shaded by the hoods of seven snakes he wears the traditional patched saffron robes of a monk. Seated in vajra posture above a moon disc and white - pink shaded lotus, water-born, he is surrounded by an ornate nimbus adorned with wishing jewels and lotus blossoms.

At the upper left sits Simhanada Avalokiteshvara, peaceful and white with one face and two hands sitting atop a white snow lion. In this form he prevents and cures illnesses such as leprosy caused by the poisonous vapors of nagas. At the right is wrathful Vajrapani, the bodhisattva of activity and power, blue, with one face and two hands holding a vajra and lasso, standing in a wrathful manner surrounded by flames.

Below, the lotus stalk, amidst wishing jewels and red coral, rises from a dark blue pond filled with various creatures. White nagas with folded hands show reverence and offer lotus flowers from white cloud banks while elephants and deer gambol on the soft green shore beneath outcroppings of jutting rock.

Lineage: Buddha Nagendra Raja, Arya Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Lord Dipamkara Atisha (982-1054), etc.

Jeff Watt 9-98

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