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. 90164)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Metal, Mercuric Gild, Painted Face/Hair, Precious Stone, Stone Inset: Turquoise
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Vajravarahi (Tibetan: dor je pag mo. English: the Vajra Sow). A principle female Tantric deity of Vajrayana Buddhism. She belongs to the iconographic category of Vajrayogini and arises from the Chakrasamvara and Yogini cycle of Tantric literature.

Sanskrit: Vajravarahi Tibetan: Dor je pag mo

"From the state of emptiness instantly [appears] a dharmakara, red, three sided, the outside completely blazing with a mountain of fire. In the middle of that, above a lotus, corpse, and sun disc, is the Holy One with a body red in colour. With two faces, on the right indicating ultimate truth is a black pig face. On the left indicating relative truth is a fierce red face, looking slightly down. The two faces each have three eyes; with some hair hanging loose. The right hand holds a curved knife aloft, the left holds a blood filled skullcup to the heart. On the left shoulder, indicating method, a katvanga [staff] is supported. With a naked body and possessing the five bone ornaments; the natural five families as a crown of five dry skulls. The toes of the right foot press on the thigh of the left leg in the manner of a half-posture. The sole of the left foot is placed above the sun - standing in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (The Method of Accomplishment of the Two Faced Varahi from the Tradition of Indrabhuti. Written by Gelong Ngawang Chodag in the 7th month of the Water Female Bird year [1633]).

With a fierce expression, slightly peaceful and slightly wrathful, she is typically red in colour with one face, three eyes and dark yellow hair flowing upward, at the crown a black boar's head protrudes. The right hand holds aloft a curved flaying knife with a vajra handle and the left to the heart a skullcup filled with the blood of the four maras. In the bend of the left elbow there should stand an upright tantric katvanga staff (missing). Adorned with a tiara of gold and five skulls, ribbons and jewel earrings, a garland of fifty fresh heads, she wears a bone necklace, girdle, bracelets and anklets. With the proper right leg raised in a dancing posture, the left presses on a prone figure. Above a moon disc and double lotus seat, she normally would be completely surrounded by the tight curling flames of orange pristine awareness fire (missing).

Below the prone figure under foot is is a double tetrahedron (dharmakara, dharmadayo), the corners marked with bliss whorls and surrounded by a circle of vajras (vajramala).

The boar's head is more often depicted on the proper right side of the face of Vajrayogini. In a few examples, often late in age, 8th to 20th century, the boar's head is placed on the crown of Yogini's head. This is most often evidenced from secondary depictions of Vajravarahi in paintings and murals.

The black wrathful form of Vajravarahi, Krodha Kali, is almost always depicted with the boar on the crown of the head. based on observation of other sculpture and painting it would appear that placing the boar's head on the crown of Yogini is more common in the Karma Kamtsang Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Jeff Watt 10-2001 [updated 4-2017]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Iconography/Index of Names
Collection: Private 9 (Sculpture)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Vajravarahi Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Main Page
Artist: Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier (Wrathful Figures)
Sculpture: Female
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini Sculpture
Sculpture, Metal: Buddhist Deities
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Varahi (top of the head)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini (Miscellaneous Masterworks)
Tibet: Densatil Monastery Style Sculpture
Sculpture: Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier (Gilded Masterworks)
Artist: Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier (Peaceful Figures)
Artist: Sonam Gyaltsen & Atelier (Sculpture)
Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Varahi (Sculpture Masterworks)