Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vajradhara Buddha

རྡོ་རྗེ་འཆང། སངས་རྒྱས། 金刚持
(item no. 7900)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Metal, Stone Inset: Turquoise
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Vajradhara, Buddha (Tibetan: dor je chang, sang gye. English: the Vajra Holder, Enlightened One). The primordial buddha, personification of the dharmakaya - truth body of enlightenment and progenitor of the Vajrayana system of Buddhism.

Sanskrit: Vajradhara Tibetan: Dor je chang

The New (Sarma) Schools, from the 11th century onward, believe that Vajradhara is the secret, or inner, form of Shakyamuni Buddha and the combined essence of all the buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time gathered as one. In Anuttarayoga Tantra it is Vajradhara who emanates forth the forms of the Five Symbolic Buddhas and Vajrasattva followed by the meditational deities such as Guhyasamaja, Shri Hevajra and Chakrasamvara.

According to the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism Vajradhara is an activity emanation of buddha Samantabhadra.

The artist Sonam Gyaltsen lived during the first half of the 15th century. He was commissioned to do work for the Rinpungpa Lord Norbu Zangpo (1403-1466) and his younger brother Palzang. Both brothers were students of the famous Sakya teacher Zhonnu Gyalchog (birth 14th century [P1943]). This teacher was also a direct student of Je Tsongkapa Lobzang Dragpa (1357-1419). (For more information about the only identified inscribed work see HAR 61516).

Works by this sculpture artist and atelier are most easily recognized by the shape of the leaves on the lotus base, pattern incizing around the base (of some figures), incizing on the garments, crown and jewelry, and the delicate front hairline of the peaceful deities

Jeff Watt [updated 11-2018]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Vajradhara (Sculpture)
Artist: Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier (Peaceful Figures)
Artist: Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier (Sculpture)