Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Avalokiteshvara (Wrathful/Semi Forms)

Avalokiteshvara (Iconic Forms)

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Wrathful Forms with the Name
- Wrathful Forms without the Name
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Avalokiteshvara:Wrathful Forms

There are few wrathful iconographic forms of Avalokiteshvara where the name is included in the identification such as with Lokanata. There are many forms of Avalokiteshvara where he is referred to by a different name or by the name designating the classification of deity such as for the categories of Jambhala or Ganapati. Only single identified forms within those classifications of categories are forms of Lokeshvara. Those classifications are not universally emanations or forms of Avalokiteshvara.

Hayagriva, the deity with the horse head, is the most popular form of Avalokiteshvara in a wrathful appearance. It is only the Shadbhuja Mahakala of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition originating in the Eight Chapter Mahakala Tantra that is understood as a form of Lokeshvara. Other six armed forms of Mahakala, of which there are several, are not necessarily forms of Lokeshvara.

A number of forms under the classification of Ganapati are recognized as Lokeshvara. It is possible that all forms of Ganapati in Tantric Buddhism are considered as forms of Avalokiteshvara. There are forms of Chakrasamvara that are closely related to Lokeshvara and sometimes include various name elements from both deities in text titles.

Wrathful Forms with the Name:
- Lokanata Kala Lokeshvara
- Others...

Wrathful Forms without the Name:
- Hayagriva
- Shadbhuja Mahakala & Sita Shadbhuja (Shangpa Kagyu)
- Jambhala, White
- Lha Chenpo
- Ganapati, Maharakta
- Others...

Jeff Watt 8-2014 [updated 8-2022]