Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Pratisara (Buddhist Deity) - (Four faces, Eight Hands)

སོ་སོར་འབྲང་མ། ནང་ལྷ། 随求佛母(佛教本尊)
(item no. 87224)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Size 73.60x55.80cm (28.98x21.97in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Catalogue # acc.# 67.822, Gift of John Goelet
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Pancha Raksha with 56 Deities (English: the Five Protectresses) according to the tradition of the Indian mahasiddha Jetari. See a mandala representation.

Video: Pancha Raksha: A Masterwork Painting

Five Inner Mandala Deities:
- Maha Pratisara
- Maha Sahasrapramardini
- Mahamayuri
- Sitavati
- Mantramanudharani

The goddess Pratisara is at the center, white in colour, with four faces and eight hands. Within the central square at the upper left corner is Mahamayuri, yellow in colour, with three faces and six hands. At the upper right side is Mantramanudharani, red in colour, with three faces and twelve arms. At the lower right is Sitavati, green in colour, with three faces and six arms. At the lower left side is Maha Sahasrapramardini, blue in colour, with four faces and eight arms.

Outer Mandala Deities:
- Guardians of the Ten Directions
- Nine Heavenly Bodies
- Twenty-four Mansions
- Four Guardian Kings

In the top register are the Five Symbolic Buddhas: white Vairochana, yellow Ratnasambhava, blue Akshobhya, red Amitabha and gree Amoghasiddhi. In the lower register are the Guardians of the Ten Directions, Brahma, Indra, Yama, Varuna, etc. Each of those rides on a different animal or mythical mount. In the register partially above and along the sides are the Nine Heavenly Bodies and the Twenty-four Mansions 9stars and constellations). At the bottom right and left sides are the the Four Guardian Kings.

At the mid level of the composition, to the right and left of Pratisara, on the left side is Ushnishavijaya, white, with three faces and eight arms. On the right side is Tara, white in colour, with one face and two hands. These two female long life deities are not part of the Pratisara mandala configuration and are included by the choice of the artist or commissioner of the painting.

Lineage: The Complete Buddha, Vajrapani, Jetari, Vajrasana the Greater, [Vajrasana] the Younger Amoghavajra, Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag, Sakyapa Chenpo Kunga Nyingpo, [etc.]. The lineage continues down through the Sakya tradition. There are a number of other alternate lineages that all stem from Bari Lotsawa or later Sakya teachers.

Jeff Watt 4-2001 [updated 12-2020]

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Pancha Raksha Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Pancha Raksha (56 Deity)
Collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Deities (Female)
Buddhist Deity: Pratisara Main Page
Collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Buddhist Deity: Pancha Raksha (Single Composition)
Buddhist Deity: Pancha Raksha (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Mahamayuri
Buddhist Deity: Pratisara Masterworks