Himalayan Art Resources

Chinese Deity: Guan Yu Masterworks

Guan Yu Main Page | Masterworks Male Protectors, 男性护法神

Guan Yu (died 220) is a Chinese General from the Eastern Han Dynaty that became deified and absorbed into folk Buddhism and Taoism. As a subject in Himalayan style art, he was primarily popularized in the 18th century by Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717-1786).

General Guan Yu is typically depicted in a seated posture with the legs extended forward atop a tiger skin and traditional Chinese throne. A consort sits to his left side. She holds a vase adorned with a single peacock feather. Accompanying the couple, there are usually four horsemen wearing warrior attire.

At the top of the compositions Changkya is often depicted along with the Panchen and Dalai Lamas. Tsongkapa and other teachers can also be found with some later 19th century compositions.

Jeff Watt 3-2016