Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Hayagriva (Buddhist Deity) - Red with consort (1 face, 2 hands)

རྟ་མགྲིན། ནང་ལྷ། 马头明王(佛教本尊)
(item no. 83415)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Hayagriva-Vajravarahi Chintamani (Tibetan: ta pag yi shin nor bu. English: the Wish-fulfilling Jewel, Horse-necked One and Vajra Sow): the principal meditational deity of the famous 19th century Eastern Tibetan lama Shabkar (1781-1851) [p287].

The form depicted here is of a single face, two armed, red, wrathful Hayagriva, holding a hooked/curved knife and skullcup. He embraces a consort similar in appearance. Of the two earliest known depictions of this subject one is in the form of a mandala, HAR #30911 and the other a depiction of the principal deity, HAR #77185.

At the top of the composition are a seated Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal. The central Hayagriva couple are accompanied by ten paired retinue couples. All are standing in a dance posture and with the same general attributes but in different colours to reflect the Five Buddha Families of a mandala.

There are many forms and traditions of Hayagriva. The majority of forms and different appearances must certainly be found with the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In general from the several representations that are known the consort can appear red in colour and sometimes blue.

Jeff Watt 3-2016

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