Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Padmasambhava - Guru Dragpo (meditational form)

པད་མ་འབྱུང་གནས། 莲花生大士
(item no. 721)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Nyingma
Size 81.28x58.42cm (32x23in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1998.13.6
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Guru Dragpo, (English: Wrathful Teacher) fierce Padmasambhava, from the Terma (Revealed Treasure) Lineage of Nyang Ral Nyima Ozer (1124-1192).

Wrathful, red in colour, with one face and three eyes, he has a gaping mouth and dark yellow hair flowing upward. The right hand upraised holds a gold vajra. In the left thrust out to the side is a black nine-headed scorpion. Adorned with a crown of skulls, earrings, bracelets and the like, he is decorated with numerous writhing snakes and a garland of fresh heads. Wearing an elephant hide draped across the shoulders, the lower body is wrapped with a tiger skin. The right leg bent, left extended atop a seat of two prone figures, an orange sun disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom, he stands surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness, interspersed with soaring Garuda birds.

"From the wrathful mandala of natural great bliss, Padma Krodha, with a red-black blazing body, one face, two hands, two legs outstretched; homage to the form of the terrifying Fierce One." (Nyingma Liturgical Verse).

At the top center is the buddha Amitabha, red in colour, with the hands in the mudra (gesture) of meditation. Seated at each side are lama figures. Further to the left is Shadaksari Avalokiteshvara, white with one face and four hands. Again at the right is Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava, holding a vajra upraised at the right side and a skullcup in the lap. Various lineage figures adorn the top and descend along the sides.

The four principal attendant figures are arranged at the sides. At the middle left is yellow Yamari, in the same appearance as Guru Drakpo. At the right is red Hayagriva. At the lower left is blue Vajrapani. At the right maroon Jvalaketu. Each has one face and two hands, holding their own individual objects, adorned with wrathful vestments and surrounded by flames of wisdom. Below, five goddesses, yellow, blue, red, white and green, each with one face and two hands, semi-peaceful in appearance, hold a curved knife and skullcup. In a dancing posture they stand upon a corpse, sun disc and lotus seat.

Seated at the bottom center is a monk wearing orange robes and a red cap; likely the patron of the tangka. Behind at the left is the wrathful protector, Chaturbhuja Mahakala, blue-black, with one face and four hands embracing the consort. At the left corner is Amitayus and the wealth deity yellow Jambhala. At the right side are three protector figures, a wrathful black Dre Du daemon, riding a black horse, followed by a red Tsen daemon, riding a red horse. In the corner is a dark blue Naga, riding a blue horse. Wrathful in appearance, each holds a spear banner in the right hand and a lasso in the outstretched left. An inscription in fine gold lettering runs along the bottom red border.

Jeff Watt 6-99

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 7
Padmasambhava: Guru Dragpo Main Page
Padmasambhava: Guru Dragpo (single)