Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vaishravana (Buddhist Protector) - Riding a Lion (Retinue Figure)

རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲས། བྱང་ཕྱོགས་སྐྱོང་། 北方多闻天王
(item no. 82110)
Origin Location Bhutan
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Material Ground Mineral Pigment
Collection Francoise Pommaret - photographs
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Vaishravana Retinue Figure. Three of the Eight Horsemen that make up the retinue of the deity Vaishravana Riding a Lion.

The deity Vaishravana Riding a Lion has a retinue of eight armour clad horseman. Seven of the eight horseman face forward but one always has the head turned away. The composition of Vaishravana and the eight horseman are best seen in the paintings. The sculpture sets found in Western museums are typically of individual figures and rarely a complete set. Because of this the subject is often miss-identified.

The subject is most popular in Central Asia, Tibet, Mongolia and China where the majority of the paintings come from. The clothing and attire worn by each figure generally follows a Central Asian or Chinese style.

Jeff Watt 7-2005 [updated 4-2009]

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Francoise Pommaret (photos)
Region: Bhutan, Murals
Buddhist Worldly Protector: Vaishravana Riding a Lion
Buddhist Deity: Vaishravana (Retinue Figures)