Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vajrabhairava (Buddhist Deity)

རྡོ་རྗེ་འཇིགས་འབྱེད། 金刚大威德(佛教本尊)
(item no. 69404)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Size 87.63x55.88cm (34.50x22in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Catalogue # b60d34
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Moha Yamari, a retinue deity in the mandala of the complex meditational deity known as Vajrabhairava. This single composition belongs to a set of at least nine paintings, if not more, depicting all of the principal figures of a Vajrabhairava mandala.

Moha Yamari is a directional retinue deity located in the Eastern direction of the Vajrabhairava mandala. (See an example in the mandala painting number #65463). He has three faces and six hands, wrathful in appearance, white in colour and in a standing posture embracing a consort. His proper right face is blue and the left red. The first pair of hands hold a curved knife and skullcup. the second pair holds a sword and flower and the third a golden wheel and a green jewel.

As a principal meditational deity Vajrabhairava, sometimes referred to as Yamantaka, belongs to the Bhairava and Yamari class of tantras and specifically arises from the Vajrabhairava Root Tantra (Tib.: jig je tsa gyu). The Sanskrit source text belongs to the method (father) classification of Anuttaryoga Tantra. The practice of Vajrabhairava is common to the three new (sarma) Schools of Tibetan Buddhism from the 11th century onwards: Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug. Among the Sakya it is counted as one of the four main tantric deities along with Hevajra, Guhyasamaja and Chakrasamvara (Tib.: gyu de shi). Amongst the various Kagyu Schools the Drigungpa are strong upholders of the practice. There are numerous forms and styles of practice from the very complex with multiple heads and arms along with numerous deities to the very concise with a single Heruka form and no attendant retinue deities. From amongst the many different lineages of teaching transmissions to enter Tibet the main ones were those of Rwa Lotsawa and Mal Lotsawa.

Lineage: Shri Vajrabhairava, Jnana Dakini, Mahasiddha Lalitavajra, Amoghavajra, Yeshe Jungne Bepa, Mahasiddha Padmavajra, Marmedze Srungwa, Rwa Lotsawa Dorje Drag, Rwa Chorab, Rwa Yeshe Sengge, Rwa Bum Seng, Rongpa Gwalo Namgyal Dorje, Rongpa Sherab Sengge, Lamdrepa Yeshe Palwa, Je Sonam Lhundrup, Choje Dondrup Rinchen, Je Tsongkapa Lobzang Dragpa (1357-1419), etc.

Jeff Watt 4-2009

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Obscuration Killer of Death.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: gti mug gshin rje gshed.

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Collection of Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Buddhist Deity: Vajrabhairava (Retinue Figure)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrabhairava Main Page