Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Vajravali (Drangti Namkha Palzang)

Vajravali Set (Drangti) | Vajravali Main Page | Vajravali Outline Page | Ngor School

This set of Vajravali mandala paintings were created to commemorate the death of the 11th Ngor Khenpo, head of the Ngor sub-school, Sanggye Sengge (1504-1569) [TBRC P2510]. They were commissioned by the 13th Ngor Khenpo Drangti Namkha Palzang (1532-1602) [TBRC P777]. The paintings have to have been made after the death of Sanggye Sengge and even up to several years after. Therefore the date of the creation should properly be between 1569 and likely 1575 at the latest. This set of paintings following a Newar style is very late and shows how the Ngorpas of Ngor Ewam Monastery were still invested in the Newar artistic style at this time and even into the early 17th century.

There are several paintings currently identified from the painting set. Each composition has an identical dedicatory inscription along the bottom giving the names of Sanggye Sengge and Drangti Namkha Palzang. In Wylie transliteration the inscription reads: rdo rje 'chang sangs rgyas seng ge'o dgongs pa rdzogs phyin du grang btsun nam mkha' dpal bzang gis gus pas kzheng so. Each painting also has an inscription at the top stating that it is a Vajravali painting and which number it is in the sequence of paintings.

Painting number #59875, the 2nd in the set, contains the four principal mandalas of the Hevajra Tantra and are included in the Fourteen Mandalas of the Non-dual Tantra and are numbered six through nine in the standard Vajravali list of mandalas. The two figures at the center of the composition are Yeshe Kandroma and Abhayakaragupta. The second figure, wearing monastic robes and a pandita hat, is the author of the Sanskrit language Vajravali text. This painting #59875 has an inscription at the top stating that it is painting #2 in the set. The deities of the four mandalas are:
5. Shri Hevajra Kapaladhara, eight faces, 16 arms, 9 Deity
6. Chitta Hevajra, three faces, six arms, 9 Deity
7. Vak Hevajra, one face, four hands, 9 Deity
8. Kaya Hevajra, one face, two hands, 9 Deity

The 2nd painting known to exist from this set has four Chakrasamvara related mandalas in the composition. The subjects of the four are Padma Dakini, Vajra Dakini, Ratna Dakini and Humkara - Vajravali deities #22, 23, 24, 25. The deities of the four mandalas are:
22. Varahi, Rakta, 37 Deity
23. Varahi, Nila, 37 Deity
24. Varahi, Pita, 37 Deity
25. Humkara, 11 Deity

The 3rd of the known paintings, #59864, has five mandalas with a smaller mandala in the middle and four surrounding. The painting has the same inscription on the bottom and at the top like the other two known paintings. It top inscription states it is number #10 in the series. The two larger figures depicted in the composition are Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, founder of the Ngor School, on the left and Jangsem Lodro Rinchen on the right. The Deities represented are:
31. Buddha Kapala, 25 Deity
32. Buddha Kapala, 9 Deity
33. Mahamaya, 5 Deity
34. Yogambara (Chaturpita), 58 Deity
35. Jnana Dakini (Chaturpita), 13 Deity

Jeff Watt 11-2011