Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Vajrapani (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - (Sarvadurgati Tantra, Four Kings)

ཕྱག་ན་རྡོ་རྗེ། 金刚手菩萨
(item no. 86926)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya and Ngor (Sakya)
Size 40.64x40.64cm (16x16in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection The Brooklyn Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc. #BMA 81.10. Gift of E.C.Woodward & various funds
Painting School Ngor
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Vajrapani and the mandala of the Four Great Kings of the Directions from the Parishodhana Tantra.

Within the center of the two dimensional circular diagram (mandala) representing the top view of a three dimensional celestial palace and surroundings is Vajrapani, white in colour, with one face and two hands, holding in the right a vajra to the heart and with the left a bell at the left hip; adorned with jewelled ornaments and garments of silk, with a green aureole and nimbus behind.

In the surrounding four main and intermediate directions on a large eight sectioned dias are the 4 Great Kings of the Directions each with one face and two hands holding their own unique symbols; wearing flowing garments, adorned with jewel and gold ornaments. Four initiation vases are placed in the intermediate directions.

The floor of the palace is divided into four colours; red, green, yellow and blue. The outer square enclosure composed of variously coloured lines are the four palace walls, with a red veranda outside, adorned with 16 offering goddesses of various colours. Each of the four doors (?T? shaped) has a guardian. The outermost stylized square represents the ornate roof. The palace rests on a circle of decorative lotus patterns surrounded by the ring of five coloured flames of pristine awareness. Each corner is adorned with a vase and lotus motif enriched with green vines, white circular blossoms and auspicious emblems.

The mandala of Vajrapani and the 4 Guardian Kings belongs to the set of 12 mandalas arising from the Sarvadurgati Parishodhana Tantra (Eliminating all Bad Rebirths) of the Yoga classification of the Sarma Schools.

The painting is executed in Nepali style popular in the early period of Ngor monastary evidenced by the strong red and blue colours, copious floral patterning and rigid adherence to geometric form.

(See the painting Vajrapani and the 8 Great Nagas from the same set).

Jeff Watt 3-2002

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Mandala: Main Page
Tradition: Sakya Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani Main Page (Peaceful & Wrathful)
Painting Style: Tibet (Balri)
Mandalas: Sakya Tradition
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani Masterworks (Painting)
Collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art
Buddhist Deity: Sarvavid, Parishodhana Tantra
Painting Style: Ngor Mandalas
Collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art (Deities)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani & Four Kings (Sarvadurga
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani Mandalas
Buddhist Deity: Sarvadurgati Tantra Mandalas (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani (Types & Forms) Page
Painting Set: Sarvadurgati Parishodhana (Ngor)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani (peaceful, vajra & bell)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrapani, Peaceful, Main Page
Collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art (Masterworks)