Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Chakrasamvara (Buddhist Deity) - Heruka

འཁོར་ལོ་བདེ་མཆོག། ནང་ལྷ། 勝樂金剛 (全图)
(item no. 624)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Shangpa Kagyu
Size 53.98x33.66cm (21.25x13.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1998.1.8
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Chakrasamvara and the Five Deities Tantra (Tibetan: khor lo dom pa [dem chog] dang gyu de lha nga) of the Shangpa Kagyu School.

Tibetan: Khor lo dem chog

In the central location is the deity Chakrasamvara embracing the consort Vajrayogini. Dark blue in colour with one face and two hands folded across the heart he holds a vajra and bell embracing the consort. Adorned with a crown of five dry skulls, gold and bone ornaments, a necklace of freshly severed heads and a skirt of tiger skin, he stands with both feet on the reclining forms of Kalaratri and Bhairava. Vajrayogini is red in colour, holding upraised in the right hand a curved knife and while standing on the left leg she entwines the consort with the right. Atop a flat sun disc and lotus blossom, they stand surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness.

At the top left is Shri Hevajra, dark blue, with one face and two hands holding a vajra and bell, embracing the consort Nairatmya, standing in a dancing posture. At the right is Mahamaya, dark blue, holding an arrow and bow, embracing the red consort, standing in a dancing posture. At the bottom left is Guhyasamaja, dark blue, holding a vajra and bell, embracing the consort, in a seated vajra posture. At the right is Vajrabhairava, blue-black, holding a curved knife and skullcup, embracing the consort Vajra Vetali, standing atop a buffalo. These four deities and Chakrasamvara comprise the 'Five Deities Tantra.'

At the top center is the buddha Akshobhya, dark blue, with one face and two hands. The right hand is extended across the knee in the 'Earth Witness' mudra (gesture). The left hand is placed in the lap supporting an upright gold vajra.

At the upper left and right are the two flowers of the Shangpa School. On the left is Red Khechari (Tib.: kha cho mar mo) holding a vajra in the right hand pointed downward and a skullcup upraised in the right with a katvanga staff leaning against the left shoulder. Standing above a corpse, sun, lotus and red tetrahedron she is supported on the right leg with the left raised up exhibiting dexterity; surrounded by orange flames. At the right is White Khechari (Tib.: kha cho kar mo) holding a curved knife and skullcup, with minimal adornments and seated in a revealing posture on a red triangle; surrounded by flames and a red sphere.

At the middle left is wrathful Vajrapani, dark blue with one face and four arms. The first pair of hands perform the 'Humkara' mudra joined at the heart. The second right holds aloft a gold vajra and in the left extended to the side a lasso. Standing with the right leg bent atop a corpse, sun and lotus, he is surrounded by the flames of wisdom. At the right is Vajravidarana, blue-black with one face and two hands holding upraised in the right a gold vajra and an upturned bell at the hip in the left. Wrathful, atop a sun disc and lotus he is surrounded by flames. At the bottom center is the 'Secret Accomplishment' Hayagriva, red, with three faces, six hands and four legs - wrathful activity deity of the Lotus Family.

Recent Instruction Lineage: Vajradhara, Siddhavira, Ratnasambhava, Ataya Vajra, Rahulagupta, Kedrup Chenpo Khyungpo Naljor Tsultrim Gonpo (founder of the Shangpa Kagyu School, 11th century), etc.

Jeff Watt 4-98

Numbered List:
1. Chakrasamvara
2. Akshobhya Buddha
3. Hevajra
4. Mahamaya
5. Kachod Marmo
6. Kachod Karmo
7. Vajrapani
8. Vajravidarana
9. Hayagriva 'Secret Accomplishment'
10. Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja
11. Vajrabhairava

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Wrathful Ornaments (Scarf)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Buddhist Deity: Chakrasamvara Main Page
Tradition: Shangpa Kagyu Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Five Tantra Deities (Shangpa)
Buddhist Deity: Chakrasamvara, Heruka
Subject: Heruka Meaning & Forms
Buddhist Deity: Chakrasamvara, Heruka (Couple, Painting)
Subject: Semi-peaceful/Semi-wrathful Appearance