|Date Range||1800 - 1899|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton|
|Collection||Rubin Museum of Art|
|Catalogue #||acc.# P1998.4.11|
Vajrayogini (Tibetan: dor je nal jor ma): from the Naropa Khechari tradition of the Sakya School.
Slightly peaceful and slightly wrathful, red in colour, naked, she has one face and two hands, three eyes and long black hair flowing down the back. Looking upward she drinks from a white skullcup held aloft in the left hand. Supported across the left shoulder is a gold katvanga staff, ornate with ribbons, a damaru drum and streamers. In the right hand held downward is a curved knife with a vajra handle. The head is adorned with a tiara of five dry skulls and large looped earrings. Various bone bracelets and ornaments adorn the body along with a garland of fifty dry skulls and a bone girdle. With the right leg slightly bent and the left straight she stands atop two figures - red and black, above a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom completely surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness.
At the top center is Vira Vajradharma (identical in nature to Vajradhara), peaceful, red, with one face and two hands. Held upraised in the right hand is a damaru drum and the left at the heart holds a skullcup. A katvanga staff leans against the left shoulder. Adorned with ornaments and silks he is seated in vajra posture. At the left side is Vajrayogini of the Maitri Khechara tradition taught by the Indian mahasiddha Maitripa. Red, with one face and two hands she holds a curved knife extended downward and a skullcup held aloft. The left leg is hooked over the left arm and the right leg is in a bent posture. In a dexterous posture she remains poised in the air emanating fine rays of golden light. At the right is Vajrayogini of the Indra Khechara tradition taught by the mahasiddha Indrabhuti. Red with one face, a black pig head at the crown of the head, the two hands hold a curved knife upraised in the right and a skullcup at the waist with the left. Supported by the right arm is an upright katvanga staff. Adorned with ornaments and a long green scarf, standing on the left leg with the right drawn up, atop a corpse, sun disc and pink lotus blossom she is surrounded by orange rays of light.
At the bottom left and right are two lamas wearing orange and red monastic robes, seated on thrones with brocade backrests, giving instructions to several students seated to the front and sides - also attired in monastic robes.
Vajrayogini is a representation of complete buddhahood in female form. Classified as Wisdom or 'Mother' Anuttarayoga the practices originate with the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. Although found in a variety of forms she is common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. In this particular manifestation she embodies a special form and teaching passed down from the lineage of the Indian mahasiddha Naropa through to the Sakya School. This form has also become popular within the Gelugpa Tradition. The three Yoginis as a group belong to a set known as the Cycle of Three Red Ones (Tib.: mar mo kor sum) and are the first three deities in the collection of the 13 Golden Dharmas of Sakya.
Jeff Watt 3-99