Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Avalokiteshvara (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Chaturbhuja (4 hands)

སྤྱན་རས་གཟིགས། 观音菩萨
(item no. 89177)
Origin Location Bhutan
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Drukpa (Kagyu, Bhutan) and Buddhist
Size 97x68cm (38.19x26.77in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Publication: Tibetan Painting, The Jucker Collection
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Avalokiteshvara, Chaturbhuja.

At the bottom center is Hari Hari Bhavan Avalokiteshvara with one face and six hands riding atop the Hindu god Vishnu, a garuda and a white snow lion. In this depiction the artist has confused the two gods Vishnu and Rahula and has drawn Rahula with nine heads, four arms and maroon in colour. This mistake is caused by the use of the Tibetan work 'kyab jug' which in various contexts can be used for both deities. This is a rare example of mistaken iconography at the hands of the artist or instruction of the patron. The Tibetan text of the 11th century Bari Gyatsa gives both Sanskrit and Tibetan titles clearly stating that it is Avalokita riding atop (vahana) the god Hari (Vishnu). Furthermore, there is also no relationship between the name Hari and the astrological god of eclipse - Rahu (Rahula).

[Drugpa Sadhanamala #13, page 116] "From the state of emptiness above a lotus, moon and white [syllable, appears] Hari Hari Bhavan Bhagavan Arya Avalokiteshvara, white [in colour], the hair tied as a crown, peaceful [in appearance]. For the six hands the first right performs the [gesture] of the 'powerful tathagata', the second [holds] a bead mala, the third a gesture instructing beings in the way of virtue avoiding bad rebirths. The [first] left holds a stick, [second] the skin of a black deer, [third] a round bottle; seated fully atop the shoulders of Vishnu, [above] a Garuda, [above] a lion."

[Bari Gyatsa, #22] "Hari Hari Hari Avalokiteshvara. The Lord of the World Hari Hari Hari Vahana Bhavan, with a body white in colour, one face [and] six hands. The first right performs a mudra, the second a bead garland and the third the mudra. The first left holds a stick, the second a krishnasara skin [and] the third a round bottle. [Having] the same ornaments and garments [as the deities before]. Seated in the lalitaraja posture."

[Ngor Sadhanamala, #14, Thartse edition] "Lokeshvara, Hari Hari Hari Lokeshvara, White with One Face and Six Hands."

Jeff Watt 4-2010

Tibetan Paintings by Hugo E. Kreijger (list of image plates)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Publications
Contents: An Ocean of Methods of Accomplishment (Sadhanas)

Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara (Compendium Paintings)
Region: Bhutan, Main Page
Subject: Arms of Deities (Numbers)
Painting Set: Sadhanamala (Drugpa Kagyu)
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara (Four Hands) Selected Masterworks
Region: Bhutan: Painting & Textile Masterworks
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara, Chaturbhuja (Three Deity)
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara, Chaturbhuja - Four Hands - Main Page
Collection of Jucker (Tibetan Art)
Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara, Hari Hari Hari