Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Deity

(item no. 75102)
Origin Location China
Date Range 1900 - 1959
Lineages Buddhist
Size 31cm (12.20in) high
Material Wood
Collection The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Catalogue # 85.04.0072-.0077
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Field Protectors (Sanskrit: Kshetrapala), protector figures from an unknown set and an unknown number of total figures. They likely belong to a Chinese Buddhist or Taoist system unrelated to Tibetan Buddhism, although they could also be Korean or Japanese in origin.

Note the elephant headed figure with six tusks and the figure with a European 'devil-like' face, having two tusks, and two horns on the head - red in colour. Each of the figures appears to be holding a bowl in the left hand and a triangular offering similar to a Tibetan 'torma' cake in the right hand. They quite clearly do not conform stylistically or iconographically to anything Tibetan in origin or Tibetan Buddhist in meaning.

According to one Anuttarayoga Tantric Buddhist system from Tibet, and India, for depicting the eight cemetery Guardian Deities that reside in the trees, they are: "...in the east white elephant-faced Devasangha; south blue buffalo-faced Yama; west red makara-faced Megharaja; north yellow horse-faced Yaksha-senapati; north-east smoky bull-faced Pretasabha; south-east red goat-faced Rishisabha; south-west black zombie-faced Rakshaganika; north-west green deer-faced Vayuraja." (Konchog Lhundrub). Each of these deities holds a curved knife and a skullcup.

Jeff Watt 4-2010

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Thematic Sets
Collection of the Jacques Marchais Museum (Masterworks)
Collection of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art (Sculpture)
Subject: Sculpture - Strange, Weird & Unidentified