Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Worldly Protector (Buddhist) - Rahula

འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 世俗的神(佛教)
(item no. 568)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma
Size 69.85x46.99cm (27.50x18.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.41.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Rahula (Tibetan: kyab jug): wrathful protector of the Revealed Treasure Tradition of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.

Fiercely wrathful, black in colour, with nine heads, each face has three large eyes and a gaping mouth with exposed fangs. On the stomach is the large face of the original Rahula who devoured the nine celestial planets which now appear as heads above the main face in the center of the torso. The arms are covered with numerous eyes. In the first pair of hands are a drawn bow and arrow. The second right holds aloft a makara stick and the left a snake lasso. Adorned with crowns of five skulls and gold earrings he wears a human skin and scarves. The lower body is that of a coiled naga serpent, rising out of a blood filled black triangle enclosure; surrounded by flames and black smoke. Three large skulls support the traingular enclosure.

"From a fierce E [syllable] in a realm equal to space, the Lord arises out of wrathful activity, smoky, with nine heads, four hands and a thousand blazing eyes; homage to the Great Rahula - Protector of the Teachings." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

At the top right is a Heruka deity with the principal pair of hands crossed at the heart. Below that at the middle right is Damchen Garwa nagpo, the Vajra Blacksmith riding a goat and holding a hammer and blacksmith bellows. At the top left is a one faced two armed wrathful figure. Below that is the female protector of the Treasure Tradition, Ekajati. Below that is Vajra Sadhu (Tibetan: Dorje Legpa) riding a snow lion.

Three wrathful Heruka figures with three faces and six arms each stand below. At the bottom right and left are two figures with peg (Tibetan: purba) lower bodies. At the bottom center is a wrathful figure with one face and two hands.

See painting number 543 from the same set and artist.

Jeff Watt 6-2006

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Protectors, Worldly Deities
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Painting Type: Black Ground Main Page
Buddhist Protectors: Worldly (Nyingma)
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Rahula Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Rahula - Main Figure (Painting)