Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Sitatapatra (Buddhist Deity) - (1000 faces, 1000 hands)

གདུགས་དཀར། ནང་ལྷ། 大白伞盖佛母(佛教本尊)
(item no. 73897)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Buddhist
Material Bronze
Collection John and Berthe Ford
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Sitatapatra: Vajra Ushnisha Sitatapatra (Tibetan: dor je tsug tor dug kar mo. English: The White Parasol One of the Vajra Crown Protuberance [of the Buddha]).

Universal in form with one thousand heads, one thousand arms, and one thousand legs, her body is adorned with ten million eyes - all watching over the needs of human kind. She has five main faces in the four principal colors representing the four basic enlightened activities, along with the fifth face, green, the combination of all activities together. The white parasol held overhead symbolizes the gentle protection of a loving mother. Each of the hands hold special attributes; objects that symbolically represent a specific benefit. All obstacles of the individual person and those of the nation at large are depicted as trampled underfoot, preventing all misfortune, pestilence and war.

Universal White Parasol, a Buddha emanation, is similar in appearance to the All-seeing Lord (Avalokiteshvara), Manjushri and the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu in their universal representations (vishvarupa) as they actively display a multitude of heads, arms and legs - the conflation of all gods and powers fashioned into one supreme form.

White in colour with 1000 faces, 1000 hands, 1000 legs and 10,100,000 (ten million one hundred thousand) eyes. The main face in front is white with 199 white faces above, to the left is a vertical row of yellow faces, to the right is a vertical row of green faces, on both sides are red faces and on top of those are 200 more blue faces. Each face has three eyes and each set of coloured faces displays a different expression. In the first pair of hands the right holds a Dharma Wheel in the Refuge Giving mudra (gesture) and the left holds an arrow together with the handle of a parasol, held to the heart, unfurled above on the right side. She is adorned with various jewel ornaments and wears upper and lower silk garments of assorted colours.

A further 99 pairs of hands hold in the right a Dharma Wheel and an arrow in the left. The remaining 400 hands on the right hold a vajra, jewel, lotus and visvavajra (double vajra), 100 of each object. The remaining 400 hands on the left hold a bow, sword, lasso and hook, again 100 of each object. The 500 legs on the left side are extended above worldly deities and a host of animals and the legs on the right are bent and press down on all worldly troubles, daemons and animals.

Lineage Teachers: Buddha Tathagata, Ushnisha Sitatapatra, Vajrapani, Dasa Samadhi, Chandragomin, Giravati, Vajra Tikshna, Padma Angkusha, Brahmin Ratna Vajra, Jetari, Vajrasana the Senior and Younger, Bari Lotsawa, Denma Kyura Akyab, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), etc.

Jeff Watt 5-2005

Secondary Images
Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Female Buddhas at RMA

Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Sitatapatra Main Page
Collection of John and Berthe Ford
Collection of WGA
Buddhist Deity: Sitatapatra (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Sitatapatra (Sculpture Workshop)
Collection of Ellsworth, Robert Hatfield