|Date Range||1500 - 1599|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton|
|Collection||Rubin Museum of Art|
|Catalogue #||acc.# F1998.17.3|
Vajradhara, Buddha (Tibetan: dor je chang, sang gye. English: the Vajra Holder, Enlightened One). The primordial buddha, personification of the dharmakaya - truth body of enlightenment and progenitor of the Vajrayana system of Buddhism; surrounded by the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas of the Vajrasana system of enumeration. (See the Yoga Postures depicted in this painting).
Along the bottom, comprising the 2nd register up, are the Sixteen Arhats accompanied by Dharmata the faithful attendant. At the bottom right are four deites: Yellow Jambhala, Chaturbhuja Mahakala, Panjarnata Mahakala and Brahmarupa Mahakala. At the bottom center are seven monks kneeling in a group. These seven represent the first Tibetans to be ordained as monks by the abbot Shantirakshita in the 8th century at the time Samye Monastery was built.
Center - Vajradhara
A. Bodhisattva Male Attendant (Vajrapani?)
B. Bodhisattva Female Attendant (Ekajati?)
C. Shakyamuni Buddha
E. Chaturbhuja Avalokiteshvara
F. Yellow Jambhala
G. Chaturbhuja Mahakala
H. Panjarnata Mahakala
I. Brahmarupa Mahakala
Donor Figures at bottom left
1a through 16a are the Sixteen Great Arhats.
Inscriptions that are not legible or have been effaced are 16, 18, 21, 24, 27, 33, 37, 45, 46, 49, 54, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 68, 74, 75, 76, 78, 79, 81, 82 and 83. The name inscriptions which are legible follow the Vajrasana list and system of the Eight-four Mahasiddhas. There are some small iconographic differences where a siddha known to be a monk is depicted in siddha appearance. Learn the definition and three different appearances for the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas:  Layperson,  Monastic, and  Siddha appearances.
Jeff Watt 4-2001 [updated 9-2009]
Painting Style: Guge Kingdom (Western Tibet)
Padmasambhava: Early Images (Primary & Secondary)
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara & the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas (Single Composition)
Indian Adept: Systems of Mahasiddhas
Subject: Vajrayana Buddhism Main Page
Tradition: Sakya Protectors (Composition Examples)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara Main Page
Subject: Yantra Yoga (Physical Yogas)
Subject: Abhayadatta Shri Mahasiddha System
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara & Eighty-four Mahasiddhas
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 1
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara, Solitary
Collection of RMA: Painting Masterworks Page