Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahavidya, Grahamatrika - (3 faces, 6 hands)

(item no. 83421)
Origin Location China
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Grahamatrika, Mahavidya (Tibetan: za yum chen mo): a female deity that is related to the sun, moon, planets and constellations. She is sometimes referred to as the Queen of the Planets or Mother of the Planets. She is a meditational deity and her special function or activity is to remove obstacles that are caused by poorly aligned astronomical events.

Grahamatrika has three faces and six hands, white in colour, seated in vajra posture. In the right hands she holds a vajra, arrow and hook. In the three left hands she holds a Dharma Wheel marked staff, bow and a lasso. The objects in the hands are counted from the inside and lower to the upper hands. The upper hands are considered to be behind or at the back. She has a Peaceful Appearance.

Immediately above Grahamatrika is the teacher Padmasambhava on the viewer's left and yellow Parnashavari on the right. Above them are twelve wrathful figures with one face and two hands. Eleven are blue in colour and one is red in colour. Two of the wrathful figures can be easily identified as wrathful Vajrapani and red Hayagriva.

At the right and left of the central figure are the immediate retinue figures. These deities surround the central figure of Grahamatrika in her mandala circle. Beginning on the left and moving counter clockwise are Indra on an elephant, Agni on a goat, Raksha on a zombie, Varuna on a water monster (makara), Yama on a buffalo, Bhu Devi on a sow, Yaksha on a horse, Vayu Deva on a deer and Brahma on a white goose. All of these are Indian gods now employed as secondary figures within a Buddhist context.

At the lower left side is the protector deity 'Outer' Yama Dharmaraja, blue in colour, with a buffalo head, standing atop a black buffalo. At the bottom center is 'Secret' Yama Dharmaraja, red in colour, with a buffalo head and riding a buffalo. Along the bottom of the composition at the left and right sides are the Four Guardian Kings of the Directions. Blue Virupaksha and red Virudhaka are on the left side and yellow Vaishravana and white Dhritarashtra are on the right side.

Jeff Watt 12-2015

Buddha Form | Female Form | Wrathful Form

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Grahamatrika Mahavidya Main Page
Exhibition: Female Form (DM)
Collection of Dhargye Museum (Painting Gallery 1)
Buddhist Deity: Grahamatrika Masterworks
Collection of Dhargye Museum