Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Worldly Protector (Buddhist) - Pehar

འཇིག་རྟེན་པའི་ལྷ། ནང་ལྷ། 世俗的神(佛教)
(item no. 802)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma
Size 50.80x37.47cm (20x14.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1999.1.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Gyalpo Pehar - the Five Kings (Tibetan: pe har gyal po nga): an avowed religious protector subjugated by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century.

Fearsome, dark blue in colour with one face and two hands, the 'Mind King' Pehar has three round eyes and a gaping mouth with fangs bared. Held in the upraised right hand is a lasso and a razor in the left. Adorned with gold and jewel earrings and necklace, he wears a black hat, round and marked with a white skull, and a black cloak over top variously coloured silk garments and boots. Seated atop a white elephant adorned with jewels and bells, sun disc and a pink lotus blossom, he is surrounded by the burning flames of wisdom fire. At the top left in the western direction is the red 'Speech King' Pehar holding a stick aloft in the right hand and a sandalwood 'ghandi' in the left, attired in variously coloured garments; riding a black horse. At the right side in the northern direction is the 'Activity King' Pehar, white, with three faces - white, blue and red and six hands holding a bow and arrow, hook and razor and a sword and stick. Attired in loose flowing silks of various colours he rides atop a white snow lion with a green mane.

At the bottom left in the eastern direction is the 'Body King' Pehar, dark blue, holding upraised in the right hand a gold vajra and in the left a lasso attached to two naked figures. Wearing a black cloak and variously coloured garments he rides atop a white snow lion. At the right in the southern direction is 'Qualities King' Pehar, dark blue, holding upraised in the right hand a battle axe and a lasso aloft in the left. Wearing similar garments and a round black hat the same as the others, he rides atop a black horse. Surrounding all are the flames of wisdom fire.

At the top center is a Nyingma lama wearing the robes of a monk and a red pandita hat, holding to the heart a vajra and supporting a skullcup in the lap. At the middle left is a Tibetan mountain deity, white in colour with one face and two hands, holding in the right upraised a sword and in the left held to the side a wealth bestowing mongoose. Wearing various robes and a white turban, he rides a white horse. At the middle right is the Avowed Blacksmith, wrathful and blue, holding a vajra hammer in the upraised right hand and a tiger skin bellows in the left. Wearing the same attire as the central figure, he rides atop a brown goat with curved horns. At the bottom center is the very wrathful protector Rahula, maroon in colour, with nine faces and four hands, holding a makara banner, snake lasso and a bow and arrow. The lower body is in the form of a coiled green snake.

There are numerous legends concerning the subjugation of Pehar, however they all agree that he is not indigenous to Tibet. Oath bound to protect the Buddhist teachings by Guru Padmasambhava, he has since become a Tibetan national protector, predominantly practiced by the Nyingmapa and since the time of the Great 5th Dalai Lama, the Gelugpa School - specifically the Ganden Podrang government.

Jeff Watt 5-99

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Protectors, Worldly Deities
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 8
Buddhist Protectors: Worldly (Nyingma)
Tibet: Nechung Monastery Main Page
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Pehar Gyalpo Main Page
Subject: Three Eyed Deities
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Pehar Gyalpo (Masterworks)
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Pehar Gyalpo Five Forms (Ku Nga)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mongolia
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Pehar (Mind)