Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Hevajra (Buddhist Deity)

ཀྱེ་རྡོ་རྗེ། ནང་ལྷ། 喜金刚(佛教本尊)
(item no. 85721)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya, Ngor (Sakya) and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc. #M.77.19.6
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Shri Hevajra and Nairatmya Nine Deity Mandala.

This painting contains seventeen mandalas. The large form in the center is the basic Essence Hevajra known as the Nine Deity Mandala. The majority of the surrounding mandalas, if not all but one, are additional forms of Hevajra or Nairatmya in her singular mandalas, or minor deities and mandalas, all described in either the Hevajra Root, Vajra Panjara or Samputa Tantras. The only figures that are exceptions are the figures in the top and bottom registers which are a selection of the the more popular meditational deities at the time of the paintings creation. A small donor figure appears at the far left of the bottom register. At the bottom right are Panjara Mahakala, Shri Devi, Yellow Jambhala and Black Jambhala.

"...Shri Hevajra with a body blue in colour, eight faces, sixteen hands and four legs. The main face is blue, right white, left red, upper face smoky; the two remaining pairs of faces are black. Each face has three eyes and four bared fangs; yellow hair flowing upwards; the top of the head is marked with a vishvavajra. The sixteen hands hold sixteen skullcups. The first right holds a white elephant, the first left holds the yellow God of Earth; these two embrace the Mother. In the second right is a blue horse; third - ass with a white patch; fourth - yellow bull; fifth - ash-coloured camel; sixth - red man; seventh - blue sharabha; eighth - cat with a white patch. In the second left hand is the white God of Water; third - red God of Fire; fourth - green God of Air; fifth - white God of the Moon; sixth - red God of the Sun; seventh - blue Yama; eighth - yellow Holder of Wealth. Each head has a crown of five dry human skulls; and a necklace of fifty fresh heads; six bone ornaments; the two right legs are extended, on the thighs the toes of the two folded left legs are pressing in the half-[vajra] posture in a dancing manner; possessing the nine sentiments of dancing: grace, strength and ugliness; laughter, ferocity and frightful; compassion, fury and peace. In the lap is the mother Vajra Nairatmya, with a body blue in colour, one face, two hands, three eyes; yellow hair flowing upwards; right a curved knife, left holding a skullcup and embracing the father; five dry human skulls as a crown; a necklace of fifty dry [skulls]; five bone ornaments; left leg extended and the right drawn up embracing the father. Both are standing in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Ngagwang Legpa).

"...in the east black Gauri, right hand holding a curved knife, left a rohita fish; south red Chauri, right hand holding a damaru, left a pig; west yellow Vetali, right hand holding a tortoise, left a skullcup; north green Ghashmari, right hand holding a snake, left a skullcup; north-east blue Pukkashi, right hand holding a lion, left an axe; south-east white Shavari, right hand holding a monk, left a monk's staff; south-west purple Chandali, right hand holding a wheel, left a plough; north-west multi-coloured Dombini, right hand holding a vajra, left a wrathful gesture. Also, all have one face, two hands, three eyes and yellow hair flowing upward; naked, adorned with five ornaments of bone; a crown of five human skulls and a necklace of fifty skulls. With the left leg extended and the right in a half-lotus posture, in a dancing manner, they stand in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Konchog Lhundrub).

Jeff Watt 1-2013

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