Himalayan Art Resources

Iconography: Text Collections (Sanskrit/Tibetan/English)

Buddhist Iconography

Subjects, Topics & Types:
1. Description/Introduction
--- Source Texts: Tantra, Commentaries, Compendia
--- Sanskrit
--- Tibetan
--- English
2. Chronological Periods
--- Early
--- Middling
--- Late
3. Major Compilations & Collections
- Confusions
- Others...

Videos - Introduction to Teaching Iconography:
- Part 1 (HAR on Patreon)
- Part 2 (HAR on Patreon)
- Part 3 (HAR on Patreon)
- Part 4 (HAR on Patreon)
- Part 5 (HAR on Patreon)
- Q & A: Part 1 (HAR on Patreon)
- Q & A: Part 2 (HAR on Patreon)
- Q & A: Part 3 (HAR on Patreon)

The earliest iconographic forms for deity yoga are described in the Tantra literature of Vajrayana Buddhism. Those are further explained by the commentaries of the educated and experienced practitioners of India. From the source literature and commentaries come the numerous compendia of deity forms such as the Sadhanamala and Vajravali. Many compendia texts were translated into the Tibetan language but some of the original Sanskrit sources have been lost. The most famous of these are the Bari Gyatsa, Sadhana-samucchaya (Sadhanamala), Patsab Gyatsa, Mitra Gyatsa and others.

Chronological Periods:
--- Early
--- Middling
--- Late

Major Compilations & Collections by Lineage or Tradition:
--- Abhayakara Gupta Group (11th century)
--- Mitra Gyatsa Group (circa 1200)
--- Nartang Gyatsa Group (14th century)
--- Rinchen Trengwa Group (16th century)
--- Related & Late Collections (17th to 19th century)
- Others

Jeff Watt [updated 5-2018, 12-2018, 7-2023]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).