Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Indian Adept (siddha) - Ghantapa

རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་གྲུབ་ཆེན། 印度大成就者
(item no. 514)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Size 53.34x38.74cm (21x15.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1996.29.5
Painting School Palpung / Situ
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

TBRC: P8895

Interpretation / Description

Ghantapa, mahasiddha (Tibetan: dril bu pa, drup tob chen po. English: the One of Great Accomplishment Holding a Bell).

Flying in the sky, thoroughly embraced by the wisdom consort, the mahasiddha Ghantapa holds in the right hand a gold vajra and in the left a bell. The head is adorned with blossoming flowers and a red ribbon. Gold bracelets and anklets adorn the limbs. Wearing a long blue and orange scarf, he is attired in a short red skirt. The consort is naked save for the ornaments of a tiara, bracelets and anklets.

Legend: At the bottom center is the King Devapala, standing with the hands upraised, who having insulted the mahasiddha, the latter now with vajra-anger, and dropping a large blue pot of alcohol, causes the Goddess of the Earth to incur a flood. A regretful Devapala and a lone subject, with reverence call out for help, with the hands reverently joined in the gesture of petitioning. Instantly, on hearing the needful plea the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara appears standing at the bottom right, white in colour and wearing a krishnasara deer skin over the left shoulder, proceeds to save the kingdom by averting the flood. The now remorseful king, requesting teachings, receives the parting words of the mahasiddha and consort as they ascend to the pureland of the Dakinis.

At the top left is an unidentified bodhisattva from the standard set of eight.

Ghantapa belongs to the famous set of 84 mahasiddhas and is most commonly associated with the Chakrasamvara initiation and teaching lineage (Sanskrit: guru sampradaya) common to all the Sarma Schools: Sakya, Kagyu and Gelugpa.

Jeff Watt 12-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Indian Adept: Mahasiddha Paintings, Palpung Composition
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Painting Set: Mahasiddhas, Indian Adepts - Palpung Composition II
Indian Adept Main Page (Mahasiddha)
Painting Style: Kham Region (Kham-ri)
Indian Adept: Ghantapa Main Page
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 2