Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Hayagriva (Buddhist Deity) - Black

རྟ་མགྲིན། ནང་ལྷ། 马头明王(佛教本尊)
(item no. 77562)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Nyingma, Karma (Kagyu) and Buddhist
Size 256.54x172.72cm (101x68in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Royal Ontario Museum
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Black Hayagriva with an Iron Sword (Tibetan: tam drin nag po chag ral, English: Black Horse Neck One) of the Dagyal Revealed Treasure tradition of the Nyingma School. (See a comparison with another Black Hayagriva painting).

The description below belongs to the Nyang Ral Nyima Ozer tradition of Black Hayagriva.

"...on a lotus and sun seat, is the King of the Wrathful, Hayagriva, with a very fierce body blue-black in colour. With one face, two hands and three eyes, the face is radiant with bared fangs, blazing orange beard and mustache. A green horse head on the crown neighs - gathering the power of the Three Realms. The right hand holds a sword aloft severing the heads and bodies of enemies into pieces. The left holds a hook to conduct the life force of enemies and hindrances. In a manner of play with the left extended the two feet are supported by enemies and hindrances. The body is dressed in a great cloak of black silk and a human hide with a lower garment of tiger skin. Having a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty wet, snake coils of the five naga races, complete with the eight glorious articles - standing in a vast blazing heap of fire." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (1646-1714) and Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718. Tibetan source text 'dod 'jo bum bzang, Part I, page 258).

With one face and two hands he holds in the right a sword and in the left an axe. Very wrathful, fierce, with a gaping red mouth, three glaring eyes, and a green horse head on top amongst the black flowing hair, he is adorned with gold, jewel and bone ornaments. Wearing three types of necklace, a long green snake, fifty freshly severed heads and fifty dry skulls, the upper body is adorned with a large black patterned cloak, human and elephant skin and the lower body wears a tiger skin. With the right leg bent and left extended above various corpses he stands atop a sun disc and lotus seat.

In the top register beginning on the left is Shakyamuni Buddha, Manjushri followed by six monastic figures. Slightly below the top register on the left is a figure wearing a black hat (possibly a Karmapa) and on the right side an unidentified monastic figure.

In the bottom register beginning on the left side is White Achala, Blue Achala, Krodha Vajrapani, Hayagriva, Panjarnata Mahakala, Shadbhuja Mahakala, Chaturbhuja Mahakala and Shri Devi Dudsolma.

Jeff Watt 6-2006

Secondary Images
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Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva (Painting Masterworks)
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Collection of Royal Ontario Museum: Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva, Black
Collection of Royal Ontario Museum: Paintings - Masterworks
Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva (Early Works)
Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva (Black) Masterworks