Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Arms of Deities (Numbers)

Arms of Deities | Deities- Physical Features Page

Subjects & Topics:
- Arms of Deities Explanation (below)
- Number of Arms (below)
- Hand Gestures
- Gender (male, female, both, neither)
- Three Moods (Peaceful, Semi, Wrathful)
- Confusions
- Others...

Number of Arms:

Two Arms (2): (most deities have only two arms)

Four Arms (4): Achala, Bhrikuti, Buddhakapala, Chunda, Dvajagrakeyura, Ekajati, Ganapati, Hevajra, Humkara, Jambhala, Janguli, Kurukulla, Lokeshvara, Mahabala, Mahakala, Mahamaya, Maitreya, Manjushri, Nairatmya, Prajnaparamita, Rahula, Sarasvati, Shri Devi, Tara, Vajrapani

Six Arms (6): Achala, Bhurkumkuta, Eight Kagye Heruka, Ganapati, Guru Dragpo, Guhyasamaja, Hayagriva, Hevajra, Humkara, Jambhala, Janguli, Jnana Dakini, Kurukulla, Mahakala, Manjushri, Marichi, Pehar, Shanglon, Vajrakila, Vajramrita, Vajrapani, Vajrasattva, Yamari, Yogambara

Eight Arms (8): Amritakundalin, Dvajagrakeyura, Ekajati, Hayagriva, Heruka (Dragtung), Kurukulla, Manjushri, Marichi, Pratisara, Tara, Ushnishavijaya

Ten Arms (10): Marichi, Pratisara

Twelve Arms (12): Ganapati, Lokeshvara, Marichi, Pratisara, Tara

Fourteen Arms (14): Marichi

Sixteen Arms (16): Amaravajra Devi, Hayagriva, Hevajra, Mahakala, Manjushri, Trailokyavijaya

Eighteen Arms (18): Guru Dragpo, Nagaraksha, Vaishravana Riding a Dragon

Twenty-two Arms (22): Humkara

Twenty-four Arms (24): Ekajati, Kalachakra

Thirty-four Arms (34): Vajrabhairava

One Hundred + (100+): Nagaraksha

One Thousand Arms (1000): Lokeshvara, Sitatapatra


Buddhist Iconography: Arms

The majority of Buddhist Tantric deities have two arms. Even deities that are commonly known for having multiple faces will most often have only two arms.

There are only a dozen or so deities or groupings of deities that have more than two two arms. They can be peaceful, semi-peaceful or wrathful in appearance. They include all of the most popular categories of deities such as Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, Vajrapani and Tara.

Jeff Watt 6-2015 [updated 6-2017]