Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Vajrayogini (Buddhist Deity) - Vajravarahi, Red

རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 金刚瑜伽佛母(全图)
(item no. 839)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Karma (Kagyu)
Size 37.47x27.31cm (14.75x10.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1999.10.5
Painting School Palpung / Situ
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Vajravarahi, Five Deity (Tibetan: dor je phag mo lha nga): principal tutelary deity of the Six Dharmas of Naropa.

Sanskrit: Vajravarahi Tibetan: Dor je pag mo

With a fierce expression, slightly peaceful and slightly wrathful, she is red in colour with one face, three eyes and dark yellow hair flowing upward, at the crown a black boar's head. The right hand holds aloft a curved flaying knife with a gold vajra handle and the left to the heart a white skullcup. In the bend of the left elbow stands an upright tantric katvanga staff, ornate with an orange streamer. Adorned with a tiara of gold and five white skulls, green ribbons and gold and jewel earrings, a garland of fifty fresh heads, a garland of flowers, a bone necklace, girdle, bracelets and anklets, she wears a long green scarf around the shoulders. With the right leg raised in a dancing posture, the left presses on a sun disc atop a prone figure. Above a moon disc and pink lotus seat, she is completely surrounded by the tight curling flames of orange pristine awareness fire.

In the four directions stand the four attendant Yoginis in the same appearance as Vajra Varahi. At the top right is red Khandaroha, to the left yellow Rupini, at the bottom right green Lama, to the left dark blue Dakini. The expansive open foreground is adorned with an offering display of wishing jewels, red coral, white conch and gold ingots. The tiered earthen landscape diminishes upward into a vast open sky.

At the top center is the 13th Karmapa Dudul Dorje (1733-1797) with the right hand in the mudra of generosity and the left at the heart holding the stem of a lotus flower. Wearing the orange and red robes of a monk, the lower body is wrapped with a yellow meditation cloak. The top of the head is adorned with a black vajra crown. Enveloped in spheres of light and ascending rainbow streams he sits on a cushioned seat indicating his earthly status.

This form of Vajravarahi is one of the special practices of the Kagyu Tradition and arises from the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantras belonging to the Wisdom (Mother) class of Anuttarayoga Tantra.

Lineage: Vajradhara, Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa (1012-1097), Milarepa (1040-1123), Dwagpo Sonam Rinchen, Lord Dusum Khyenpa (1110-1193), Rechen, Pom Dragpa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283), etc.

Jeff Watt 6-99

Reverse of Painting
Wylie Transliteration of Inscription:
(Vertical inscription: om ah hum hrih sva ha)

rgyal kun skyed yum rnam kun mchog ldan pa''i/
brda don rtags kyi rdo rje phag mo''i zhal/
rang rig nyid du mthong ba''i nges shes kyis/
rdo rje''i ye shes rten ''dir dbab du gsol/

Special Features: Cursive script [Ume], red

Secondary Images
Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Female Buddhas at Bruce Museum of Art

Iconography: Buddhist Iconography Main Page

Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Varahi (top of the head)
Subject: Dakini Appearance
Subject: Semi-peaceful/Semi-wrathful Appearance
Buddhist Deity: Deities (Female)
Subject: Dance in Himalayan Art
Subject: Five Mandalas of Five Deities
Tradition: Kagyu Deity Paintings
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 8
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Vajravarahi Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Main Page