Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Guhyasamaja (Buddhist Deity) - Akshobhyavajra

གསང་བ་འདུས་པ། ནང་ལྷ། 密集金刚(佛教本尊)
(item no. 487)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Sakya, Ngor (Sakya) and Buddhist
Size 75.57x57.79cm (29.75x22.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.31.13
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

TBRC: bdr:W25350

Interpretation / Description

Guhyasamaja Akshobhyavajra (Tibetan: sang wa du pa, mi kyo dor je. English: Secret Assembly). Bibliographic reference: Sarva Tatagata Kaya Vak Chitta Rahasya Guhyasamaja-nama Mahakalpa Raja, Toh 442 and No.42 in the Gyude Kuntu set of mandalas.

Guhyasamaja has three faces and six hands, peaceful in appearance, blue-black in colour and seated in vajra posture. Here the deity is painted in gold at the request of the donor. He is surrounded by four deities the same in appearance except for the hand objects which vary according to the four different Buddha Families that each represents.

Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja Description: "...with a body blue in colour like sapphire, issuing forth rays of blazing light. The main face is blue with a mixed expression of fierceness and desire. The canine teeth are pointed and clenched, frowning and having three eyes. The right face is white in a peaceful manner, left face is red in a desirous manner. All three faces are adorned with very beautiful eyebrows. Each of the six hands are adorned with precious rings. The first two hands hold a nine pointed vajra and a bell embracing the consort [who is in] the same [appearance] as the [Father]. The right second [hand] holds a white wheel with eight spokes. The third [hand] holds a red lotus with eight petals. The left second [hand] holds a green jewel with nine facets. The third [hand] holds a sword, bright blue and blazing with rays of light. Seated with the legs in vajra posture, adorned with the thirty-two major and eighty minor marks, the hair, in braids, is tied on the crown of the head. The jewel on the crown of the head greatly blazes with soothing rays of light [like] the sun and moon. Adorned with eight [different types] of precious ornaments: a crown, earrings, choker, necklace, armlets, bracelets, long necklace and belt. The ears are made more beautiful with blue utpalas and ribbons; wearing various [heavenly] garments bright like Indra's bow [rainbow]." (Jamgon Amezhab, 1597-1659).

Guhyasamaja has two main traditions, the Arya (Nagarjuna) Lineage and the Jnana (Jnanapada) Lineage. The subject of this painting is Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja of the Arya Lineage and classified as Anuttarayoga Tantra.

This painting was created for the funeral services of the 14th Ngor Khenchen Jampa Kunga Tashi (1558-1603) of the Sharchen Ludingpa family of Ngor Monastery, Tsang, Tibet.

This painting of Guhyasamaja was part of a larger commission containing an unknown number of paintings. Two others from the set are currently known, a Hevajra and a Mahamaya, both in private collections.

Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrapani, Raja Indrabhuti, Lho Chog Gyatsoi Lhu, Lhule Jungwai Yeshe kyi Khandroma, Odyana Bishi Gyalpo, Vishukalpa, Maha Brahmin Saraha, Acharya Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Acharya Dawa Dragpa, Lopai Vajra, Chopawa, Padeva, Palwe, Vidya Bhadra, Devakara, Lama Go Lotsawa, Upa Geser, Nang Khaupa Kuche, The Lord of Dharma Sakyapa, Khau Dorje Dudjom, Jetsun Chenpo, Choje Pandita, Lama Chokyi Gyalpo Rinpoche (Chogyal Pagpa 1235-1280), etc.

Jeff Watt 4-1998. Updated with bibliographic information July 2005.

Front of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: inscription lower register.

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