Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Kalachakra (Buddhist Deity) - Sahaja (1 face, 2 hands)

དུས་འཁོར། ནང་ལྷ། 时轮(佛教)
(item no. 924)
Origin Location Eastern Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Karma (Kagyu) and Buddhist
Size 52.07x37.47cm (20.50x14.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1999.33.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Semi-Peaceful

Gender: Male

TBRC: W22306

Interpretation / Description

Kalachakra, Sahaja Heruka (Tibetan: du kyi kor lo, lhan chig drag tung. English: the Wheel of Time, Blood-drinker) with Vajrasattva at the top center accompanied by four teachers and two further figures at the bottom. The painting appears to follow the Palpung Monastery style of painting and can be dated, based on the last two figures at the bottom of the composition, to sometime between 1770 and 1798.

Sanskrit: Kalachakra Tibetan: Du kyi kor lo

See Kalachakra Main Page See Kalachakra Outline Page

"...Sahaja Kalachakra ... with a body blue in colour, one face, two hands holding a vajra and bell, embracing the Mother. The left leg is white and bent pressing on white Ishvara and the right red and extended on the heart of the King of Desire. The hair is in a top-knot and a wishing gem and crescent moon adorn the head; [adorned with] vajra ornaments and wearing a lower garment of tiger skin. For each hand the thumb is yellow, forefinger white, middle finger red, ring-finger black, little finger green. For the garland of joints, the first is black, second red, and third white; with Vajrasattva as a crown; and standing in the middle of a five coloured mountain of fire. Embracing Visvamata, yellow in colour. [She has] one face, two hands, three eyes, holding a curved knife and skullcup; embracing the Father with the right leg bent, left extended. In union with the Father, naked, adorned with the five mudras, part of the hair hangs loose." (Written by Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892).

At the top center is Vajrasattva, white in colour embracing the consort Vajragarvi, holding a vajra scepter in the right hand and a bell in the left cradled to the side. Seated at the immediate left side is an Indian teacher and below that is Taranata both wearing monastic robes. Seated on the viewer's right is Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen. Below that is Katog Tsewang Norbu (1698-1755), dark skinned and wearing a cap.

At the bottom left is the 8th Situ, Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774), depicted as a portrait created in old age, grey hair, wrinkles, wearing the typical red hat. (Note the cloud ornaments on the side of the hat - trailing to the back). The two hands are placed in the lap supporting a blue wish-fulfilling jewel.

At the right side is the teacher Dragpo Dorje Tsal (1740-1798), the 4th Dzigar incarnation [P691], a student of the 8th Situ. He wears the robes of a monk, adorned with a lotus hat. The right hand upraised holds a golden vajra and the left extended to the side strikes downward with a kila (English: peg. Tib.: purba) decorated with a black scorpion. The left leg is stretched slightly forward assuming a wrathful gesture with the entire body imitating the posture of the deity Guru Dragpo - a meditational form of Padmasambhava.

Jeff Watt 11-2000 [revised 7-2010]

Numbered & Grayscale:
1. Kalachakra & Vishvamata
2. Vajrasttva & Vajra Garvi
3. Indian Teacher (unknown)
4. Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen
5. Jonang Taranata
6. Katog Tsewang Norbu
7. Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne
8. Dragpo Dorje Tsal

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: [There are name inscriptions for each of the secondary figures]

Reverse of Painting
Special Features: (handprints)

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Tradition: Kagyu Deity Paintings
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 9
Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra, Heruka
Painting Style: Palpung - Peaceful & Semi-Peaceful Deities
Subject: Heruka Meaning & Forms
Teacher: Katog Tsewang Norbu
Subject: Semi-peaceful/Semi-wrathful Appearance
Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra (Masterworks)