Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Ganapati (Indian God & Buddhist Deity) - Red (2 hands)

ཚོགས་བདག། ནང་ལྷ། 象鼻天(佛教本尊)
(item no. 500)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma
Size 45.72x68.58cm (18x27in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.27.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Animal-Feature

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Rakta Ganapati (Tibetan: tsog kyi dag po mar po, English: the Red Lord of Hosts); a wealth deity from the Revealed Treasure tradition (Tib.: terma) of the Nyingmapa School.

Red in colour with one face and two hands, the head is that of an elephant with two round eyes, two white tusks, long ears and a trunk held upwards. The right hand holds a long vajra hook in the shape of an elephant goad. Held in the bend of the elbow is a gold wealth vase spilling over with a rain of wishing jewels, gold ornaments and precious objects. The left hand holds a lasso while embracing a monkey - brown in colour, clambering over the left knee, holding in the left hand a fresh radish and a wishing jewel upraised in the right. Completely naked, Ganapati is adorned with a crescent moon and wishing jewel atop the head. In a priapic state, he is seated with the legs folded in a relaxed manner, the left leg slightly pendant, atop a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom, surrounded by a nimbus of soft orange light and a blue areola.

At the left side is Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava holding to the heart a gold vajra, the left placed in the lap supporting a skullcup. A katvanga staff leans against the left shoulder. Attired in a lotus hat and the three robes, seated in the palace of the Copper-coloured Mountain, he is accompanied on the left and right by the two main consorts Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava; both holding upraised offering skullcups. From the heart of Guru Rinpoche a band of rainbow light streams forth as a path for an emanation figure. At the top center, above wisps of cloud and the rainbow light, is a standing Guru Rinpoche accompanied by two attendant goddesses, holding aloft a parasol behind and waving a fragrant censor in front. At the right side is Padmasambhava performing the function of a wealth deity, Guru Rinpoche-Vaishravana, with one face and two hands holding in the right an upraised victory banner. At the left side a mongoose is held in the lap. Attired in the usual manner, he is surrounded by the Eight Horseman of Vaishravana.

At the middle left is the Binding Red Vaishravana, with one face, three eyes, and two hands holding in the right upraised a victory banner and spear. In the left, held in the lap is a jewel spitting mongoose, and a long vajra hook stands leaning against the left shoulder; attired in the usual garments of a warrior. At the middle right is Red Vaishravana, slightly wrathful in appearance holding to the heart a vajra hook in the right hand. The left embraces a consort and holds a mongoose in the lap. The naked consort offers upraised a wishing jewel. He sits in a relaxed posture wearing the garments of a peaceful deity.

At the bottom left is Damchen Nordrup Dorje Lekpa, red, with three eyes, holding upraised in the right hand a vajra hook and in the left a mongoose. The consort holds aloft in the left hand a long-life arrow with a white ribbon and a gold mirror with a red ribbon in the right. Both are richly attired in various peaceful garments and jewel ornaments. In the middle is a peaceful red goddess with one face and two hands holding upraised in the right a long-life arrow and in the left a skullcup held to the heart. With silks and jewels she sits in a relaxed posture. At the right is a wrathful blue figure with one face, displaying the head of a buffalo with three eyes and yellow upward flowing hair. For the two hands - held aloft in the right is a vajra hammer and outstretched in the left a blacksmith's bellows made of tiger skin. Wearing long garments of various colours, he sits atop a brown goat above a sea of blood surrounded by black smoke and licks of flame.

Various forms of Ganapati (Ganesh, Ganesha) are found throughout Tibetan Buddhism, Nyingma and Sarma. The forms vary both in colour and the number of hands and object symbols, but are uniform in the performance of providing wealth. In the Sarma Schools, Ganapati is often portrayed as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara and in some cases associated with the Chakrasamvara Tantra.

Jeff Watt 5-99

Tsogdak Marpo, red Ganesha (a Nyingma-pa terma), with a monkey representing his consort. His right hand holds a wealth vase bestowing jewels. His consort offers him a turnip which he enjoys eating and her right hand holds a jewel. Top left, Guru Rinpoche with his two consorts (Vajra Mandarawa and Yeshes Tsogyal), to the right Guru Rinpoche in his Namse form (bestowing wealth form), surrounded by eight wealth deities. At the center top, another form of Guru Rinpoche. To the sides, wrathful and peaceful deities. In the center at the bottom, Yeshes Tsogyal showing the gesture of bestowing wealth.

Lama Kunga Rinpoche-2/99

Secondary Images
Related Items
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Collection of RMA: Iconographically Rare Works
Buddhist Deity: Ganapati Religious Context
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Tradition: Nyingma Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Ganapati Main Page
Subject: Wealth Deities Main Page
Subject: Appropriation, Conflation & Abstraction
Subject: Monkey Imagery Page
Subject: Deity Colours - Red (Powerful Activities)
Subject: Ithyphallic Art
Buddhist Deity: Ganapati (Nyingma Tradition)