Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vajrapani (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Krodha (Wrathful)

ཕྱག་ན་རྡོ་རྗེ། 金刚手菩萨
(item no. 58542)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1300 - 1399
Lineages Kagyu and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Vajrapani, Krodha, with Five Garuda: according to a Marpa Kagyu lineage.

Vajrapani is wrathful in appearance (krodha), blue in colour, with one face and two hands. The right hand holds a vajra scepter upraised with the index finger extended in a wrathful gesture. The left hand is extended to the left side also in a wrathful gesture. He wears a skull crown, bone and jewel ornaments, a multi-coloured scarf, an elephant skin, a necklace of freshly severed heads and a tiger skin lower garment. Standing in a posture with the right knee bent atop two prone figures, a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus, he is surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness fire. Arranged in the flames are five garuda birds: white, red. blue, green and yellow. Outside of the flames are symbols and attributes of the eight great cemeteries.

In the top register the lineage begins on the far left with Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa, Pagmodrubpa, Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, Dorje Gyalpo, etc. The later line of teachers which alternate from the left to rights sides of the composition are predominantly of the Pagdru Lineage. Descending on the right side are Wangchug Dragpa, Jigme Dragpa and Lobzang Dragpa, etc. Descending on the left are Chodrag Zangpo, Chojewa, etc. Most of the name inscriptions are not legible.

From Vajradhara up to and including Gampopa is the early Marpa Kagyu lineage of teachers. Again, including Gampopa, and all the teachers that follow is the Dagpo Kagyu lineage of teachers. From the four main students of Gampopa arise the four major and eight minor major traditions of the Dagpo Kagyu.

The teachers that descend on the right and left registers represent the different branches of tradition such as the Pagdru Kagyu, Karma Kagyu, Drigung, Taglung, including two teachers that appear to be related to either the Sakya or Shalu monasteries.

At the lower left side are Manjushri and Chaturbhuja Lokeshvara. On the lower right side is a standing red deity known as Korwa Dongdrug. In the lower register are the 'outer protection mandala' of Krodha Vajrapani.

Most of the lineage figures and deities are accompanied by a title or name inscription, but not all. A dedicatory verse is written along the bottom border of the composition.

"ཨོཾ་བཛྲ་ནནྡ་མཧ་རོ་ཤ་ན་ཧུཾ་ཕཊ། འདིས་སྦྱིན་བདག་མི་ནོར་འཁོར་དང་བཅས་པ་ཚེ་འདིར་ཚེ་དབང་བསོད་ནམས་ཁ་རྗེ་དབང་དཔལ་འབྱོར་ཟླ་བ་ཡར་གྱི་ངོ་བཞིན་འཕེལ་ཞིང་རྒྱལ་པར་ཤོག་ཤིག། ཕ་མ་གཙོས་མཁའ་མཉམ་སེམས་ཅན་ཐམས་ཅད་ལྡོང་ཅན་དུ་སྐྱེ་བར་ཤོག།"

"Om vajra chanda maha roshana huM phaT. By creating this painting, to protect the sponsor, the surroundings and wealth, bringing good fortune, long life and an increase in wealth like the waxing moon. May all beings, including my parents be born in the Dong race [of Tibetan peoples]."

The first part of the inscription is the Sanskrit language mantra of Krodha Vajrapani followed by the requests and wishes of the patron.

The reverse of the painting is decorated with a drawing of a stupa to represent the mind of all enlightened ones. Each of the figures of human teachers and deities are mar marked with the three letters, 'om ah hum', representing the wisdom aspect of body (om), speech (ah) and mind (hum). The six Garudas surrounding the central figure of Vajrapani are marked with the single letter 'a'.

Jeff Watt 1-2018

Secondary Images
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Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani & Garuda Imagery
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Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani, Wrathful (Early Paintings)