Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Hats (Nyingma)

Hats (Religious Traditions)

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Nyingma Hats Outline
- Katog
- Dorje Drag
- Payul
- Mindrolling
- Dzogchen
- Shechen
- Nyingma Iconography
- Others...

Videos: Nyingma Hats

The lotus hat and the pandita hat are the two most common forms of hats in the Nyingma tradition. The lotus hat appears with layers of cloth at the sides and layers of colour. The top is typically adorned with a half vajra and an vulture feather. Alternately the crown may only be adorned with a half vajra or jewel. Some lotus hats are easily confused with the cap style hats of the Kagyu and Sakya traditions. A number of the Nyingma monasteries have specific lotus hats that are traditional for those monasteries such as Katog, Payul, Mindrolling and others. The Katog tradition of Nyingma claims to possess an original lotus hat of Padmasambhava (See example).

The pandita hat is typically red and pointed and often has three horizontal lines one above the other. The colour is not fixed and can appear in any shade of red or orange. The point at the top can be gentle or steep. Sometimes the top of the hat looks like a nipple or a cow's teat.

Individual Nyingma teachers are sometimes associated with a specific style of hat such as Dorje Lingpa with a distinctive black or dark blue hat.

Recognizing the hats of Tibetan teachers is the most important key to identifying the different religious traditions in paintings and identifying individual figures in art. Both a general and an intimate knowledge of hats is an essential tool in the study of Buddhist iconography.

Jeff Watt, 10-2020

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