Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Protector: Shmashana Adhipati Iconography

Shri Shmashana Adhipati Main Page

- Iconography
- Shmashana Adhipati Outline Page
- Sakya Form
- Gelug Form
- Confusions: Cham (dancing skeletons), cemetery scenes (dancing skeletons), skeleton masks
- Others...

"...the two, Shri Shmashana Adhipati, Father-Mother, with bodies white in colour and having a very frightful skeleton form shining forth with rays of light; staring eyes, curled tongue; faces with bared fangs; the right hands hold aloft to the sky sticks of dry bone, and the left hold skullcups of blood to the heart - drinking; a crown of five dry human skulls; twisted jewel earrings; with a lower garment of various silks; with the two feet in dancing postures standing in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness." (Sakya Kangso).

"...in the middle of the wind above an ocean of blood is the foundation of a great land of earth, and a mountain of skeletons, above, inside a four-sided mansion of skulls, a lotus and sun seat stands Shri Shmashana Adhipati, Father-Mother, surrounded by a circle of immeasurable worldly and non-worldly dakas." (Buddha Lakshmi).

"...the two, Shri Shmashana Adhipati, Father-Mother, with a body white in colour and shining forth rays of light, having the form of a very bright skeleton, with two hands, staring eyes (three splendid and alluring eyes), curled tongue and bared fangs. The right hand holds aloft to the sky a dry skull stick and the left a blood filled skullcup held to the heart and drinking with the mouth. Standing in a dancing manner with the right foot raised and pressed against the thigh of the extended left leg. Adorned with lower garments of various silks, a crown of five skulls, jewels and earrings. The Father-Mother dwell in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness surrounded by an immeasurable host of worldly and beyond worldly dakas." (Sanggye Rinchen).

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Jeff Watt 4-2004 [updated 4-2017, 12-2019]

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