Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Vajrayogini, Dancing Posture

Vajrayogini Index of Names

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Holding a curved knife
- Holding a vajra scepter
- Confusions: Vajra Nairatmya, Vajravarahi
- Others...

Video: Vajrayogini Dancing Confusions

Vajrayogini in a dancing posture and Vajravarahi in a dancing posture are identical in appearance, posture, colour and demeanor except for one small characteristic. Vajravarahi has a small head of a sow (pig, boar) depicted either on the right side of the face or on the top of her head with the sow looking upward. Vajrayogini in a dancing posture has no extra sow face or head. Sometimes when placed on the crown of the head the sow face can be hard to see and identify.

With sculptural examples, there is no visual difference between the dancing form of Vajrayogini and Vajra Nairatmya. With paintings the Nairamya is blue in colour while the Vajrayogini is red. The body posture, demeanor and attributes in the hands are identical.

Vajravarahi can be in a red, white or black colour, while the dancing form of Vajrayogini is typically red in colour. Vajrayogini is also consistent with the hand attributes - a curved knife and a skullcup. Vajravarahi, depending on the colour and tradition, can hold a number of different objects such as a curved knife or a vajra scepter or possibly a sword.

It is possible that there are some forms of Vajrayogini that are not Sita Vajravarahi (white) that hold upraised in the right hand a vajra scepter.

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Jeff Watt 3-2017 [updated 1-2022]