Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Ushnishavijaya (Buddhist Deity)

གཙུག་གཏོར་རྣམ་པར་རྒྱལ་མ། ཚེ་ལྷ། 尊圣佛母(本尊)
(item no. 975)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Uncertain
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Shelley & Donald Rubin
Catalogue # acc.# P2000.14.4
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Ushnishavijaya (Tibetan: tsug tor nam par gyal ma. English: Victorious Crown Ornament): goddess of long-life, white in colour, with three faces and eight hands, seated inside an architectural structure called a stupa, or chaitya

"Ushnishavijaya, the colour of an autumn moon, with three faces, white, yellow and blue and eight hands. Each face has three very large eyes. The first right hand holds a vishvavajra, second a white lotus with Amitabha [Buddha] residing, third an arrow and the fourth in [the gesture of] supreme generosity. The first left holds a vajra lasso, second a bow, third [in the gesture of] bestowing protection and fourth in [the gesture of] meditative equipoise holding an auspicious nectar vase; complete with silks and jewel ornaments, seated in [vajra] posture.

Within the outer circle of the stupa, on the right [side of the chaitya], above a moon is Avalokiteshvara with a body white in colour, the left hand holds a lotus. On the left [of the chaitya], above a sun is Vajrapani, blue, the left hand holds an utpala with a vajra; standing in a peaceful manner and adorned with silks and jewels." (Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo, 1820-1892).

This painting was commissioned by a grieving family to commemorate the death of a relative. The deceased is included in the composition and pictured at the bottom center wearing white clothes and kneeling on a white lotus blossom. Five religious teachers from the 18th century, each from different traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, are also depicted. The presence of these teachers adds additional blessing and good wishes for the departed family member.

Jeff Watt 12-2000

Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Female Buddhas at RMA

Thematic Sets
Collection: Christie's, Painting (March, 2000; NY)
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya & Stupa (Painting)
Buddhist Deity: Long-Life Deities
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Buddhist Deity: Ushnishavijaya Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Deities (Female)