Himalayan Art Resources

Iconography: Buddhist Iconography Main Page

Iconography Main Page

Deities: Categories & Divisions:
- Terminology
- Visual Categories
- Conceptual Categories

- Iconography (all videos)
- Conflation of Deities: Part 1
- Iconography Publications (Book Reviews)

- Buddhist Iconography Introduction
- Three Moods
- The Three Basic Figurative Forms Outline
- Figurative Art Outline Page
- Appearance (Physical Forms)
- Gender & Iconography
- Iconometry
- Iconic & Non-iconic Figures

Figurative Subjects, Class & Function:
- Traditional Hierarchy
- Class & Function
- Iconography Subjects Outline
- Major & Minor Deities

Sources & Study Materials:
- Iconography Collections (Literature)
- Iconography Sources & Texts Outline
- Study Guides
- Complex Specific Subjects
- Aphorisms for Iconography
- Symbols
- Confusions
- Others...

Introduction: In Himalayan and Tibetan style art the study of Tantric Buddhist iconography involves the combination of ten subjects under the three categories of [1] Hierarchy (1), [2] Appearance (2-5), and [3] Class & Function (6-8). The category of Hierarchy is the traditional manner in which the figures and deities are arranged and understood according to importance within the religious tradition. The category of Appearance is based on objective observation mixed with religious tradition and the terminology of the indigenous artistic traditions. The category of Class & Function is based on the theoretical and abstract categorizations within the various Tantric Buddhist traditions.

Jeff Watt, February 27th, 2010 [updated 2-2016, 5-2017, 2-2020]

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