Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - 8 Forms: Dorje Drolo

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 65024)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.#C2001.10.1
Painting School Karma Gardri
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Dorje Drollo: wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava from the set of Eight Main Manifestations.

Fearsome in form, dark maroon in colour, he has one face, three round staring eyes and curly dark yellow hair with orange mustache, beard and eyebrows. The right hand holds upraised a gold vajra - ready to strike. The left hand thrusts with a kila peg (Tibetan: phur ba. English: peg) made of meteorite iron. Adorned with bone earrings and a necklace of freshly severed heads he wears various coloured robes in the style of both a layman and a monk. With the right leg bent and the left extended he stands atop a fierce pregnant tigress - emanation of the consort Mandarava, while surrounded by the bright orange and red flames of pristine awareness.

"In the experience of great bliss fiercely blazing with wrathful power, maroon in colour, holding a vajra and kila, the two feet dancing expressively atop a tigress; homage to Dorje Drolo." (Nyingma Liturgical verse).

At the top center is the primordial Buddha Samantabhadra surrounded by the Five Transcendent Buddhas; Vairochana, Akshobhya, Amitabha, Ratnasambhava and Amoghasiddhi. In the corners are Nyingma teachers wearing traditional hats.

At the upper left is the 8th century Indian teacher Padmasambhava. At the right is the dancing female figure, Mandarava, consort of Padmasambhava. At the lowe left is the protector couple Shmashana Adhipati appearing as two dancing skeletons. At the lower right is Yellow Jambhala embracing the consort Vasudhara. At the bottom center is a protector deity with four attendants all riding horses and dressed as warriors.

For the purpose of subduing daemons and spirits of Tibet and the surrounding Himalayan regions Padmasambhava, at the thirteen mountain retreats each known as the Tiger's Den, appeared as the wrathful Dorje Drolo. At many of these locations Guru Rinpoche left impressions of his feet in the rocks which is indicated by the black footprints on four of the rock outcroppings surrounding Dorje Drolo. The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava belong to the tradition of the Revealed Treasures (Tib.: ter ma).

Jeff Watt 6-2006

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Main Page
Padmasambhava: Dorje Drolo Main Page
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 2
Collection of RMA: Black Ground Masterworks
Padmasambhava: Dorje Drolo (Meditational Deity)
Padmasambhava: Dorje Drolo (Masterworks)
Painting Type: Black Ground Masterworks