Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Layered Deities & Figures

Eleven Types of Deities

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Figures:
--- Figures Layered on Persons
--- Persons Layered on Deity Figures
--- Body Mandala
--- Gelug Field of Accumulation
- Letters Placed Atop Figurative Forms:
--- Kunzang Akor
--- Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa
- Yantra Diagrams:
--- Yantras on Deities
--- Yantras on People
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Layered Deities

There are Eleven Figurative Forms in Himalayan Art. Deities are included as five important categories of those Eleven Forms. In addition six other deity forms can be added to those four to make a total of Eleven Types of Deities based on appearance.

Layered deities are not that common but can be found in Buddhist Iconography. Layering occurs with deities but also with portrait figures such as the 4th Demo Rinpoche where over the heart is a second teacher and in that heart is an image of Tsongkapa. Layering occurs with yantras placed over the bodies of deities and famous teachers such as Tangtong Gyalpo. The two Bon deities Kunzang Akor and Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa both have letters imposed on their bodies.

Jeff Watt 2-2016 [updated 2-2022]

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