Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Deities - Visual Categories

Buddhist Iconography Main Page

Deities - Visual Categories:
- Two Genders
- Three Moods
- Eleven Figurative Forms
- Eleven Types of Deities
- Gestures (Mudra)
- Postures (Asana)
- Others...

There are two main methods of understanding the categories of deities in Himalayan art: visual categories and conceptual categories. Although there can be four genders in Buddhism only two are visually represented, male and female. The three moods are (1) peaceful, (2) semi-peaceful/semi-wrathful and (3) wrathful. The eleven figurative forms are a comprehensive grouping of all of the figurative types in art based on general appearance and mood. The eleven types of deities are a further sub-grouping of the meditational deities based on visual characteristics along with complexity.

Jeff Watt 8-2020