Himalayan Art Resources

Iconography: Buddhist (Class & Function)

Buddhist Iconography

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Four Classes of Tantra
- Four Tantric Activities & Four Colours
- Deities According to Function
- Foundational (Hinayana) Buddhism
- Mahayana Buddhism
- Vajrayana Buddhism
- Three Vehicles Outline Page
- Confusions
- Others...

In Buddhist iconography deities are divided into different classes and assigned general or specific functions. There are different systems of classification and various Tibetan Buddhist traditions that have their own distinctions between both class and function.

The three vehicles of Buddhism are also represented in art by figures based on either the early sutras, Mahayana sutras or the tantra literature.

Jeff Watt February 27th, 2010 [updated 2-2016, 5-2017, 2-2020]

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