Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Ushnishavijaya (Buddhist Deity)

གཙུག་གཏོར་རྣམ་པར་རྒྱལ་མ། ཚེ་ལྷ། 尊圣佛母(本尊)
(item no. 77197)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Publication: Wisdom Publications, Calender
Catalogue # collection of Musee Guimet Museum, Paris
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Ushnishavijaya (Tibetan: tsug tor nam par gyal ma. English: Victorious Crown Ornament): goddess of long-life, white in colour, with three faces and eight hands, seated inside an architectural structure called a stupa, or chaitya

In the top register there is a row of lineage teachers alternating to the right and left starting with the center figure. The vertical registers at the right and left and the upper of the two lower registers depict the Thirty-five Confession Buddhas.

"Ushnishavijaya, the colour of an autumn moon; with three faces, white, yellow and blue and eight hands. Each face has three very large eyes. The first right hand holds a visvavajra, second a white lotus with Amitabha residing, third an arrow and the fourth in supreme generosity. The first left holds a vajra lasso, second a bow, third bestowing protection and fourth in meditative equipoise holding an auspicious nectar vase; complete with silks and jewel ornaments, seated in [vajra] posture. Within the outer circle of the stupa, on the right [side of the chaitya], above a moon is Avalokiteshvara with a body white in colour; the left hand holds a lotus. On the left [of the chaitya], above a sun is Vajrapani, blue; the left hand holds an utpala with vajra; standing in a peaceful manner and adorned with silks and jewels." (Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892).

Below the central figure and stupa is a lion supported throne along with depictions of the Four Guardian Kings, Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Virudhaka and Dhritarashtra.

Within the register frame at the upper left side is the mahasiddha Virupa surrounded by eight further depictions representing eight major events from his life-story. This is the earliest known painting depicting various iconographic forms of Virupa based on life events. These were standardized in a short text by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo in the mid 15th century. On the upper right side is another image of Virupa surrounded by depictions of the Eight Great Mahasiddhas.

At the bottom left corner is a donor figure. Following to the right are Jambhala, Vasudhara, Kurukulla, Parnashavari, and other unidentified deities representing health, long-life, wealth and the removal of obstacles.

Jeff Watt [updated 6-2019]

Wisdom Calendar 2001 - January (full catalog list)

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya & Stupa (Painting)
Buddhist Deity: Long-Life Deities
Tradition: Sakya Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Deities (Female)
Indian Adept: Virupa (Six Forms)
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya (Early Paintings)
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya (Anomalies & Inaccuracies)