Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vajrasattva (Buddhist Deity)

རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས་དཔའ། 金刚萨埵
(item no. 71)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Uncertain
Material Fine Gold Line, Red Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.3.6
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Vajrasattva (Tibetan: dor je sem pa, English: Vajra Hero), the buddha of purification.

Sanskrit: Vajrasattva Tibetan: Dor je sem pa

Peaceful, with one face and two hands, white in colour (gold painted), holding to the heart in the right hand an upright vajra scepter and with the left an upturned bell, with a vajra handle, held against the left hip. The hair is tied in a topknot with some falling loose, adorned with a gold and jewel crown, along with earrings, necklaces and the like. Attired in various scarves and flowing silks he sits in vajra posture with one leg resting upon the other seated above a lotus; emanating fine rays of gold light.

At the upper left in a circular pavilion sits Shakyamuni Buddha with 10 forms of Vajrasattva in attendance. At the upper right in a circular pavilion sits the bodhisattva Tara with 10 forms of Vajrasattva in attendance. Completely filling the remaining space are 1500 further forms of Vajrasattva arranged in orderly rows.

The 'Solitary Universal Ruler,' in the single aspect without consort, arises from the Yoga Tantras. Vajrasattva is an inner form of the buddha Vajradhara and also represents all the peaceful buddha families. The practice of his famous 100 Syllable mantra are fundamental to all of Vajrayana Buddhism. The painting style is called 'tsal thang.' On a red (vermilion) background the painting is executed with fine gold line and further coloured pigments added for various detailing.

Jeff Watt 9-98

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (includes "Om Ah Hum" inscription)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Composition - Repeated Figures Main Page
Subject: Purification & Healing (General) Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Painting Type: Red Background
Buddhist Deity: Vajrasatva Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Vajrasattva, Solitary Form
Subject: Composition - Repeated Figures (Red Ground)