Entries for month: January 2012

Buddhakapala Main Page - Updated

January 31, 2012 ·

 Buddhakapala, meaning the skull of the enlightened one, is a meditational deity belonging to the Wisdom Class, or Mother Tantra, of Anuttarayoga Tantra of Tantric Buddhism.

There are several different forms of Buddhakapala. Sometimes he appears with a consort and sometimes without. He can appear in single aspect or with a mandala of eight or twenty-five retinue deities.

In the most basic form Buddhakapala appears as described below.

"Buddhakapala is blue with one face and four arms. The right two hold a double-sided drum and a curved knife. The left two hold a skullcup and a katvanga staff. Having three eyes and the pile of hair adorned with a vishva-vajra and crescent moon, a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty wet, adorned with the six mudras, an elephant hide as a lower garment, standing in a dancing manner, half vajra, expressing the nine moods of dance. [He] embraces the consort Vishvasukha Matri, red, [holding] in the right a curved knife and a skullcup in the left embracing the Lord, surrounded by the eight goddesses." (Based on Ocean of Meditational Deities text of Taranata, 1575–1634).

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Chaturmukha Mahakala of Terdag Lingpa - Added

January 30, 2012 ·

This form of Chaturmukha Mahakala, with minor differences in detail from the Sakya form, was created by Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje at the request of five monks from the Lhukang Temple.

The two examples below are somewhat different in detail from each other although both of the iconographic forms follow the general description of Chaturmukha as written in the text of Terdag Lingpa. The coloured image is of a small mural from an equally small protector chapel in Mindrolling Monastery in Tibet.


Chaturmukha Mahakala - Updated & Additions

January 27, 2012 ·

Mahakala, Chaturmukha (Four-faced Great Black One) associated with the Guhyasamaja Tantra along with the Twenty-five and Fifty Chapter Mahakala Tantras. Aside from the Sarma Tradition Chaturmukha later Nyingma Revealed Treasure Traditions (terma) of Chaturmukha arose.

According to the Sakya Tradition this form of Mahakala with four faces and four arms is rarely depicted in art and virtually never shown to those who are uninitiated. The early Sakya Teachers devised a simplified form of the deity to be depicted on paintings as a place card-holder for the true image and form which was considered too secret and dangerous to display publicly. The simplified form is that of what has come to be known as Brahmanarupa Mahakala. (See below for a short history).

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Drogdze Wangmo - Updated

January 23, 2012 ·

Drogdze Wangmo, (English: the Powerful Friend): protector of the Nyingma Terma (Treasure) Tradition. This protector deity was popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Mindrolling Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

"...One Mother, Mistress of the Three Realms, with a body maroon in colour, ferocious and frightful in appearance, with one face and two hands. In the right, eating the heart of an enemy, blood dripping and warm. Reflecting the Three Realms - the left holds a mirror. Wearing an upper garment of white silk, a tiger skin lower garment and a fresh human skin cloak. Dark brown hair hanging downward, earrings, a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty fresh, a garland of bones and a long necklace; standing haughtily with the left leg extended..." (Min-ling Lochen Dharmashri, 1654-1718. Tibetan source text TBRC W18, part II, pp.261-262).

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Panchen Lama, Nartang Style Composition - Added

January 21, 2012 ·

The incarnation line of the Panchen Lama is a popular subject in Tibetan art. The majority of Panchen Lama paintings found in museum and private collections originate in the early 18th century with a single set of drawings and subsequent block prints. They are believed to be created at the famous printing house of Nartang Monastery (just West of Shigatse and Tashi Lhunpo Monastery).

A complete example of a painted set of compositions  belongs to the collection of Tibet House, New Delhi.

The Nartang set does not contain Amitabha, Padmasambhava or Atisha. Therefore, the set does not begin with Amitabha but rather most likely uses, as the central image, the current (for the time) Panchen Lama. All of the other previous incarnations would properly hang to the right and left side of the current and centrally positioned Panchen Lama. It would seem probable that at the time of the creation of the Nartang set it ended with the 2nd Panchen Lama Lobzang Yeshe (1663-1737).

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Panchen Lama Incarnation Lineage Paintings - Added

January 21, 2012 ·

The images below represent the incarnation line of Panchen Lamas in a single composition. Three of the paintings are very good examples that clearly depict different artistic styles. Two of those paintings are also exceptional because of the portrait quality of the facial features of the central figures.

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Milarepa Main Page - Updated

January 20, 2012 ·

The Milarepa Main Page has been updated with additional images.

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Tsongkapa & the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas

January 18, 2012 ·

As a sub-theme of the Five Forms of Tsongkapa, the mahasiddha form is sometimes depicted as the central figure of a composition surrounded by smaller figures of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas. So far six paintings have been identified with four of them included on the HAR website.

Two of the HAR images belong to sets likely likely including depictions of the other forms of Tsongkapa: HAR #65347, 77237. Three of the remaining paintings appear to have all been created based on a single model. Two of these are HAR #74042 and 90748. All of the individual compositions and sets of paintings identified thus far depict the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas according to the Vajrasana System.

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Sculpture from the Tsuglakang Temple: Teachers

January 16, 2012 ·

The Tsuglakang Temple at the center of Lhasa is a great repository of works of art from the 8th century up to the present. This page of sculpture exhibits a selection of teachers from most traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in a range of sculptural and artistic styles. Like painting, sculpture can also have unique styles and stylistic traditions created by famous artists and family traditions.  (Not all of the images in the Tsuglakang Temple selection have been catalogued at this time).

Tags: Sculpture · collections · Tibet

Religious Hierarchy & Art in Buddhist Traditions

January 08, 2012 ·

This List of religious traditions, sub-schools and lineages below is intended to identify the traditional leadership structure of each tradition down to the present time. The current title and name of the leader has been added where possible. Following the name of the tradition and leader is a brief description of the known art and relevance for the tradition.

This is a work in progress with more names, content and links to be added.

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