Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Yamari, Krishna (Buddhist Deity) - Drigung Tradition

གཤིན་རྗེ་གཤེད་ནག། ནག་པོ། 黑威罗瓦金刚
(item no. 661)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Nyingma and Drigung (Kagyu)
Size 52.71x33.66cm (20.75x13.25in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1998.16.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Manjushri Yamari (Tibetan: jam pal shin je. English: Glorious Melodious Speech, Enemy of Death): from the Revealed Treasure (terma) traditions descending from Nub Sanggye Yeshe of the Nyingma School and preserved as a special teaching in the later Sarma school of Drigung Kagyu.

"Manjushri Yamari, with three faces, black, white and dark red. Having six hands, the three right hold a wheel, sword and vajra, the left a hook, pestle and wrathful gesture. Possessing the nine sentiments of dance and complete with the eight articles of the charnel grounds. Having four legs, the left are extended, standing in the middle of the [fire] of pristine awareness." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (1646-1714) and Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718. Tibetan source text 'dod 'jo bum bzang page 232).

Lineage: Tsedag Nonpo Necho, Yamari, Dorje Nonpo, Jampal Shenyen, Shantigarbha, Yeshe Nyingpo, Khagarbha, Dragtung Nagpo, Tsuglag Palge, Orgyan Chenpo, Bhasudhara, Nub Chen, Gyashang Trom, Nub Chung, Tsurton Rin-dor, Kushang Palden, Tsultrim Rinchen, Jangchub Gon, Namkai Tsenchen, Rigdzin Tsultrim, Gyaton Bonpo, Drigungpa Ratna, Chogyal Puntsog, Chokyi Drag, Konchog Lhundrup, etc. (Tibetan source text page 9).

Detailed Description: Blue-black in colour with three fearsome faces, the right is white and left red. Each face has three round red eyes and a gaping mouth with bared white fangs. Yellow eyebrows, beard, moustache and hair flame upward. In the outstretched hands the right hold a gold vajra, sword and an eight-pointed weapon wheel. In the left hands, the first performs a wrathful gesture; the second two hold a pestle and vajra hook. Adorned with crowns of five skulls, bone ornaments, gold and jewels, he is further decorated with a choker of skulls, a snake necklace and a garland of freshly severed heads. With an elephant hide draped over the shoulders, a human skin wrapped about the waist, the lower body is covered with a tiger skin fastened with a green sash. Having four legs, the right bent and left straight, standing above an ornate sun disc, multi-coloured lotus blossom and the prone forms of two red and blue horned buffaloes above two humans, he is surrounded by the tight swirling flames of pristine awareness - a black Garuda soars at the peak.

Four attendant wrathful deities accompany the central figure. At the middle left is a maroon deity, wearing a human and tiger skin, holding aloft a knife in the right hand and eating a heart with the left. Below is a blue deity holding in the right hand a representation of mount sumeru and an axe upraised in the left. Attired in various skins he stands atop a blue buffalo. At the middle right is an emaciated female form, maroon in colour, holding aloft a vajra hook with the right hand and a skullcup with the left; wearing a leopard skin lower garment. At the bottom right is a maroon deity with the hair of the head a mass of upward rising snakes, holding a staff of sandalwood in the right hand and a vajra tipped lasso in the left, both upraised; attired in various unusual skins.

At the top center is Manjushri, yellow in colour, holding aloft a sword with the right hand and a lotus supporting a book with the left. At the sides are white Avalokiteshvara and blue Vajrapani, both peaceful in appearance. At the left corner are the two layman Terton Gya Shang Drom (11th century) wearing a lotus hat and Namkai Nyingpo dressed as an Indian, followed by Shantigarbha and Garab Dorje both wearing monastic robes and red pandita hats. On the right side are the two monastic figures, Jampal Shenyen (Manjushrimitra) wearing a panita hat and Yeshe Nyingpo with the right hand in the gesture of blessing, followed by Drag Tung Nagpo (the Indian teacher of Nub Sanggye Yeshe) appearing as a mahasiddha, and Terton Lhaje Nub Gyu dressed as a layman.

Descending on the left side are Vasudhara (the Nepali teacher of Nub Sanggye Yeshe) dressed as a layman, Tsuglag Palge in the robes of a monk with a pandita hat and Rinchen Phuntsog (1509-1557) appearing as a yogi. Below are Je Tashi Phuntsog (1574-1628) wearing a pandita hat and Panchen Konchog Lhundrup holding a black mala - string of beads. Below that is Konchog Tashi Dondrup Chokyi Gyalpo (1704-1754), also wearing monastic robes and holding a vajra and bell.

Descending on the right are Rigdzin Chokyi Drag dressed as a layman, Padmasambhava wearing the lotus hat and holding a vajra, skullcup and katvanga staff, and Nub Sanggye Yeshe in the garb of a monk with a red pandita hat. Below are Chogyal Phuntsog (1547-1602) wearing a pandita hat and Konchog Zangpo (1656-1718), both wearing monastic robes. Below that is Konchog Tendzin Drodul (1724-1776) holding a book and performing the mudra of explication, attired in the robes of a monk.

At the bottom center is a low table placed above a fresh human skin and arranged with the offerings of the five senses placed in the large central skull, nectar and blood in the two smaller vessels at each side, and five more skullcups offered in front. Seated in a relaxed posture to the lower left is a yogi wearing a white cotton robe. In the right hand held to the heart is a curved knife and in the left a mala. Looking upwards he performs ritual service before the table of prepared offerings.

Finely executed on a black background the style of painting is 'nag tang' - 'black scroll.' Drawn in outline with fine lines colour is added to the black surface to create depth and contrast.

Jeff Watt 4-99

Front of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: [Left to right from the top] bter ston rgya shang grom, nam kha''i snying po, shan ti gar bha, dga'' rab rdo rje, bsdud mdzad rdo rje rnon po, ''jam dpal yas, bsdud mdzad phag rdor, ''jam dpal shas gnyen, yas''i snying po, khrag mthung nag po, bter ston lha snubs rgyud, va su dha ra, gtsug lag dpal dge, rin chen phun tshogs, rig ''dzin chos kyi grags pa, pad me ''byung gnas, snub sang yas ye shes, rje bkris phun tsogs, pan chen dkoog lhun grub, dkoog ''phris don ''drub chos kyi rgyal po, chos rgyal phun tsogs, dkoog ''phris bzang po, dkoog rtan ''dzin ''gro ''dul.

Secondary Images
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