Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Chakrasamvara (Buddhist Deity)

འཁོར་ལོ་བདེ་མཆོག། ནང་ལྷ། 勝樂金剛 (全图)
(item no. 99)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.7.2
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Chakrasamvara (Tibetan: khor lo dem chog. English: the Circle of Bliss) with the consort Vajravarahi (Tib.: dorje pag mo).

Tibetan: Khor lo dem chog

Chakrasamvara is blue in colour with 4 faces, 12 hands and two legs. The faces are blue, yellow, green and white. The first two hands hold a vajra and bell and embrace the mother consort. The last two hold an elephant skin out-stretched; third right a damaru, fourth an axe, fifth a trident, sixth a curved knife. The third left holds a katvanga marked with a vajra; fourth a vajra noose, fifth a blood filled skullcup, sixth carries the four-faced head of Brahma. The right leg is straight and presses on the breast of red Kalaratri; left bent and presses on the head of black Yama. Each head has a crown of five dry human skulls, a necklace of fifty fresh heads and bone ornaments; wear-ing a lower garment of tiger skin. In the lap is the Mother Vajravarahi, with a body red in colour, one face, two hands and three eyes. The left holds a blood filled skullcup and embraces the Father, and the right, in a threatening gesture, holds a curved knife. The right and left legs embrace the Father. Both Father-Mother stand in the middle of an orange fire of pristine awareness above a multi-coloured lotus and sun disc. Four initiation vases topped with skullcups surround the central figure; two on lotus blossoms and two wafting on blue and white clouds.

At the top center sits buddha Akshobhya, blue, with one face and two hands; seated in vajra posture. Below that is the Tibetan yogi Milarepa, wearing a white cotton robe with a red meditation belt. The right hand is cupped to the ear and the left holds a skullcup; seated in a relaxed posture. To the left sits another yogi wearing the same style of garments. At the right side is Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo wearing monastic robes and a red pandita hat. In the right and left hands are a vajra and bell along with the stems of two lotus blossoms opening at each ear supporting a sword and book.

At the bottom center is the protector associated with the Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras, Chaturbhuja Mahakala (Tib.: gonpo chag shi pa), dark blue, with one face and four hands. The first pair hold a curved knife and skullcup and the second a sword and trident. In front are two skullcups filled with offerings. To the left is the mountain goddessTseringma, with one face and two hands holding a vajra and wealth vase; riding a white snow lion with a green mane. To the right is Shri Devi, dark blue, with one face and four hands holding a skullcup and spear in the first two and a sword and trident in the second two; riding on a brown donkey.

The surrounding landscape is populated by a yogi in a hermitage and another in the mountains, a stupa (reliquary structure), animals, a corpse and various auspicious objects of wealth.

This painting is an excellent example of what is produced in the Meishu Valley of the Dege Region in East Tibet, home to the Dzongsar Monastery of Jamyang Kyentse Wangpo.

Jeff Watt 8-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Tradition: Kagyu Deity Paintings
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery II
Buddhist Deity: Chakrasamvara Main Page: Paintings
Painting Style: Kham Region (Kham-ri)
Teacher: Jamyang Khyentse (Minor Figure)
Tradition: Kagyu Main Page (Marpa & Dagpo)
Subject: Composition - Floating Figure