Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Dorje Shugden Iconography

Dorje Shugden Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Riding a Black Horse
--- Visual Outline
--- Secondary Figure
- Riding a Lion (All)
--- Five Kings
--- Riding a Lion (peaceful)
--- Riding a Lion (wrathful)
--- Minor Figure (Gelug)
- Dorje Shugden Outline Page
- Incarnation Lineage Murals
- Trode Khangsar Temple, Barkhor, Lhasa
- Chojin Lama Temple
- Confusions: Example 1, Dorje Ta'og, Dorje Legpa
- Others...

- Dorje Shugden
- Worldly Protectors
- Protector Deity Videos

The Five Families of Dorje Shugden (Single Composition):
- Vajra Family, semi-peaceful/semi-wrathful, maroon, lion mount.
- Buddha Family, semi-peaceful, white, elephant mount.
- Ratna Family, peaceful, yellow, horse mount.
- Padma Family, wrathful, red, dragon mount.
- Karma Family, wrathful, dark red, garuda mount.

Two Minsters (Tsen Protectors):
- Kache Marpo
- Namkha Bardzin

In the Gelug protector pantheon the main form of Dorje Shugden holds a wavy long edged sword up to the sky in the right hand and a heart in the left. A mongoose sits perched at the bend of the left elbow and an upright katvanga staff leans against the left shoulder. He typically rides a lion, depicted as a Tibetan snow lion, although a number of texts state that he can ride any number of mounts. An alternate form of the deity has him holding a stick aloft with the right hand and a heart in the left, seated on a cushioned throne with one leg pendant. A variation of both these two appearances is the addition of four accompanying forms of Dorje Shugden creating a total of five prominent figures known as the Five Kings. (As an aside, the traditional Gelug depiction of Dorje Shugden is very close in appearance with the Nyingma protector Dorje Legpa or the special Sera Monastery protector Dorje Ta'og Riding a Black Horse, or a snow lion).

Database Search: All Images

Jeff Watt 12-2010 [updated 2-2016, 4-2017, 12-2019]

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