Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Ushnishajvala (Buddhist Deity)

གཙུག་གཏོར་རྣམ་པར་རྒྱལ་མ། ཚེ་ལྷ། 尊圣佛母(本尊)
(item no. 65565)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Ushnishajvala (Tib.: tsug tor bar wa): This is not a typical depiction of the deity and is likely a Nyingma Terma (Revealed Treasure) Tradition version of the Indian Buddhist deity. Note the black scorpion in the left hand; characteristic of the inner form of Padmasambhava - Guru Dragpo.

"Ushnishjvala is red with one face and two hands. The right holds a sword and left a wrathful pointed gesture [together with] a spinning blazing sky metal wheel with eight spokes; three eyes, bared fangs and a curled tongue. The orange hair, moustache and beard flow upward and the body is adorned with jewels and the eight great nagas; wearing a lower garment of tiger skin; standing with the right leg bent and the left straight."

Ushnishajvala arises from the Manjushri Mula Tantra and descends through a teaching line that includes Abhayakaragupta, Kache Pandita, Buddhashri Jnana and Ananda Gupta.

Jeff Watt 1-2008

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of RMA: Iconographically Rare Works
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art (RMA): Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishajvala