Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Chitipati/Shri Shmashana Adhipati (protector) - (Sakya Tradition)

དུར་ཁྲོད་བདག་པོའི་ཡབ་ཡུམ། སྲུང་མ། 双身尸陀林主 (佛教 护法)
(item no. 462)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya and Ngor (Sakya)
Size 45.09x36.20cm (17.75x14.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.16.5
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Shri Shmashana Adhipati (Tibetan: pal dur tro dag po yab yum. English: the Glorious Lords of the Charnel Ground, Father and Mother). Also referred to as Chitipati.

Sanskrit: Chitipati Tibetan: Dur tro dag po

In the appearance of two identical skeletons they each have one face and two hands. With three round eyes and wide smiling mouths they glare with unmoving features. The two hands hold in the right a stick topped with a white skull and vajra and in the left a blood filled skullcup held to the heart. Adorned with skull crowns tipped with gold and jewel ornaments, silk fan decorations protruding from the ear slots, they wear silk scarves and skirts red in colour. With their legs interlocked the Father stands on a conch shell and the Mother on a cowrie, atop a flat sun disc and multi-coloured lotus seat surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness. Directly above is a white canopy of human ribs, leg and arm bones. At the edges stung through decorative white skulls intestines hang in loops against a dark background adorned with a delicate floral pattern. At the bottom left and right are two small square frames depicting charnel ground scenes.

Shri Adhipati arises from the Secret Essence Wheel Tantra and is associated with the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras (Anuttarayoga Tantra). Primarily employed as a wealth practice, with emphasis on protecting from thieves, they also serve as the special protector for the Vajrayogini 'Naro Khechari' practice. Shri Chitipati is now common, to a greater or lesser extent, in all the Sarma Schools.

Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrayogini, Mahasiddha Padmavajra, Lilavajra, Jnana Siddhi, Shri Samayavajra, Chime Lodro Zangpo, Ngulchu Vairochana, Khampa Gvalo Shonnu Pal, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), etc.

Jeff Watt 4-98

Secondary Images
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