Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Buddhakapala (Buddhist Deity)

སངས་རྒྱས་ཐོད་པ། 佛陀嘎巴拉金刚
(item no. 60650)
Origin Location China
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Buddhakapala, meaning the skull of the enlightened one, is a meditational deity belonging to the Wisdom Class, or Mother Tnatra, of Anuttarayoga Tantra of Tantric Buddhism.

There are several different forms of Buddhakapala. Sometimes he appears with a consort and sometimes without. He can appear in single aspect or with a mandala of eight or twenty-five retinue deities.

In the most basic form Buddhakapala appears as described below.

"Buddhakapala is blue with one face and four arms. The right two hold a double-sided drum and a curved knife. The left two hold a skullcup and a katvanga staff. Having three eyes and the pile of hair adorned with a vishva-vajra and crescent moon, a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty wet, adorned with the five mudras, an elephant hide as a lower garment, standing in a dancing manner, half vajra, expressing the nine moods of dance. [He] embraces the consort Vishvasukha Matri, red, [holding] in the right a curved knife and a skullcup in the left embracing the Lord, surrounded by the eight goddesses."

Jeff Watt 1-2012

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Buddhist Deity: Buddhakapala Main Page
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