Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - Guru Dragpo (meditational form)

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 447)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Nyingma
Size 68.58x50.80cm (27x20in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.1.11
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Guru Dragpo, (English: Wrathful Teacher) fierce Padmasambhava, from the Terma (Revealed Treasure) Lineage of Nyang Ral Nyima Ozer (1124-1192).

Very fierce, red in colour, with one face and three eyes, he has a gaping mouth and yellow hair flowing upward. The right hand holds upraised a black vajra sceptre, the left a nine-headed black scorpion. Adorned with a crown, earrings, bracelets and necklaces of gold and numerous writhing snakes, he wears a garland of heads and an elephant skin draped across the shoulders. A tiger skin covers the lower body. With the right leg bent and left extended atop a seat of two prone figures, a sun disc, multi-coloured lotus blossom and dharmakara, he stands surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness. A Garuda bird soars at the apex of the flames.

"From the wrathful mandala of natural great bliss, Padma Krodha, with a red-black blazing body, one face, two hands, two legs outstretched; homage to the form of the terrifying Fierce One." (Nyingma Liturgical Verse).

At the top center is Amitabha, the buddha of boundless light, red in colour, with the hands in the mudra (gesture) of meditation. At the left is Sadaksari Avalokiteshvara, white with one face and four hands. At the right is Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava, holding a vajra to the heart, a skullcup in the lap and a katvanga staff against the shoulder; attired in variously coloured robes and a lotus hat. At each corner a lay figure is attired in multi-coloured garments and seated on mats of cloth.

Above Guru Dragpo is a row of wrathful figures. From the left is blue Vajrapani, yellow Yamari, a maroon figure holding a trident, red Hayagriva and maroon Jvalaketu. Each has one face and two hands, adorned with wrathful vestments and surrounded by flames of wisdom. At the left is a blue wrathful figure holding a vajra and bell, attired in long flowing garments. At the left and right of the central figure are five goddesses, red, green, white, blue and yellow. Each has one face and two hands, peaceful in appearance, holding a curved knife and skullcup. In a dancing posture they each stand upon a corpse seat, sun disc and pink lotus blossom.

Seated at the bottom center is a monk wearing orange robes and a red cap. Directly in front is a white skullcup containing an offering of the five senses; held with a severed hand. A golden bowl of wishing jewels and precious objects stands below. At the left of the monk is a table displaying a row of red cone shaped torma offerings (stylized food). At the left corner, a seated lay figure is a shaded by a parasol held by an attendant as a gold teapot is offered in front.

At the bottom right are three protector figures. On the left is a Tsen daemon, red, wrathful, holding aloft with the right hand a spear with a red banner; riding a red horse. Above is a red bird and below a red dog. In the middle is a wrathful Dre Du daemon, black, holding a spear banner in the right hand and a hook in the left; riding a black horse. Above is a black bird and below a black dog. At the right is a blue Naga, holding aloft a spear banner in the right hand and a bag of disease in the left; riding a green horse. Above is a blue bird and below a blue snake. All three are well attired in the dress of warriors with helmets and protective armour.

Jeff Watt 3-99

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Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Padmasambhava: Guru Dragpo Main Page
Padmasambhava: Outer, Inner and Secret
Padmasambhava: Meditational Deity
Padmasambhava: Guru Dragpo (single)