Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Indian Adept (siddha) - Virupa

རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་གྲུབ་ཆེན། 印度大成就者
(item no. 65340)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Mahasiddha

Gender: Male

TBRC: P3293

Interpretation / Description

Virupa, Yogeshvara (Tibetan: nal jor wang chug bir wa pa. English: the Lord of Yoga, Ugly One): surrounded by students and lineage teachers. This painting was commissioned in memory of the teacher named Tsultrim Tashi (nyi ma gling pa tshul khrims bkra shis. Born 16th century [P2604]) by his student Yangchen Popa Zangpo. It was blessed by the famous and historically important 22nd abbot of Zhalu Monastery Rinchen Sonam Chogdrub (1602-1681) a teacher to the 5th Dalai Lama and Terdag Lingpa. The inscription on the back states that the painting was blessed while Rinchen Sonam Chogdrub was the abbot of Zhalu. He ascended to the throne in 1659 and retired in 1671.

The subject of the painting is from a vision of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo when he saw Virupa in the sky accompanied by the four mahasiddhas: Kanha, Gayadhara, Kotalipa and Vinapa.

"...while staying in the Zimkang Nyingma known as the Manjushri Cave of Lhabrang Shar and praying, Lama Gonpawa appeared and gave the complete instructions....

Again from praying fervently arose the Holy Lord of Yoga with a body brown in colour, radiant like the sun, with the two hands performing the Dharma Wheel mudra, the two legs in vajra posture resting on 'bal drog' to 'mon drog' [the two hills behind the North Monastery of Sakya], in a manner with the white earth [sakya] as a back drop.

On the right is the great mahasiddha Kanhapa, the right hand in meditative equipoise and the left blowing a horn. On the left is Pandita Gayadhara, wearing white garments, in vajra posture, holding a vajra and bell to the heart. Behind is Kotalipa holding a parasol. In front is Vinapa holding a nectar filled skullcup. The three mahasiddhas are blue-black in colour with long hair, wearing white garments and gazing towards the master.

Over the course of one month he [Virupa] taught Hevajra Guruyoga [Lamzab Lamai Naljor], Common and Uncommon Virupa Guruyoga [Bir Srung tunmongwa and tunmong ma yin pai], the Virupa Tradition Vajravidarana and the seventy-two Tantras...." (Translated fall 2000. Lopshe Collection vol.14. Kyentse Trikor, folio 124-125).

Jeff Watt 6-2006

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Life Story Paintings (Literary Genre)
Indian Adept: Virupa (Right Pointing Gesture)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Main Page (Gallery 1)
Subject: Deity Colours - Other (Misc. Activities)
Sculpture: Meditation Belt (Monastic & Lay)
Subject: Canopy/Parasol in Painting
Painting Style: Khyenri - Teachers & Siddhas
Indian Adept: Virupa (Painting Masterworks)
Chronology: Sakya Painting & Sculpture - Dated
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 2
Iconography: Life Story Iconography
Indian Adept: Virupa (Sachen's Vision)
Indian Adept: Virupa (Paintings)
Painting Tradition: Khyenri Main Page
Indian Adept: Virupa Main Page
Indian Adept: Virupa (Iconographic Forms)
Subject: Corpulent Figures in Art
Subject: Memorial Art (Painting)