Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Chitipati/Shri Shmashana Adhipati (protector)

དུར་ཁྲོད་བདག་པོའི་ཡབ་ཡུམ། སྲུང་མ། 双身尸陀林主 (佛教 护法)
(item no. 590)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug
Size 33.66x28.58cm (13.25x11.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.40.9
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Shri Shmashana Adhipati (Tibetan: pal dur tro dag po yab yum. English: the Glorious Lords of the Charnel Ground - Father-Mother). Also referred to as Chitipati.

Sanskrit: Chitipati Tibetan: Dur tro dag po

In the appearance of two identical skeletons they each have one face and two hands. With three round red eyes and wide smiling mouths displaying canine teeth they glare at each other. The Father holds in the right hand a bone stick, composed of a spine and skull, and with the left hand embraces the waist of the consort and holds a skullcup. Adorned with a crown tipped with gold ornaments and silk fan decorations protruding from the ear slots, he wears a blue silk cape and skirt while standing on the left leg atop a conch shell. The Mother holds in the right hand a stock of grain while embracing the waist of the consort. In the left hand upraised she holds a gold treasure vase. Adorned with the same ornaments as the Father she wears a green cape and skirt, above a cowrie shell. Standing atop a red sun disc and lotus blossom on a throne constructed of white bleached bones they are surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness.

Arranged in front is a gold vessel with three red torma (stylized food) offerings shaped like cones. To the right and left in separate bowls are smaller white tormas. Along the sides are offerings of domestic and wild animals, birds to the right and left and musical instruments of all types. The eight outer offerings are placed in gold bowls with pedestal stands. Between those are the inner offerings arranged in six skullcups.

At the top center is the Lord Tsongkapa, wearing monastic robes and a yellow pandita hat. Performing the Dharma Teaching mudra at the heart he holds the stems of two lotus blossoms supporting a sword and book. At the left is the tutelary deity Chakrasamvara, blue, with four faces and ten hands, embracing the consort Vajrayogini. At the right is the bodhisattva Vajrapani in wrathful form, blue, with one face and two hands holding a vajra and lasso.

Shri Adhipati arises from the Secret Essence Wheel Tantra and is associated with the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras (Anuttarayoga). Primarily employed as a wealth practice, with emphasis on protecting from thieves, they also serve as the special protector for the Vajrayogini 'Naro Khechari' practice. Shri Adhipati is now common, to a greater or lesser extent, in all the Sarma Schools.

Jeff Watt 5-98

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