Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Posture

Iconography Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Static Posture (Iconography)
- Dynamic Posture (Yantra Yoga)
- Glossary: Postures
- Seven Point Posture of Vairochana
- What are Postures?
- Posture Types Outline
- How to Identify a Deity
- Glossary: Hand Gestures & Mudras
- Confusions
- Others...

- Postures in Iconography
- Mudras & Hand Gestures

Posture refers to figures, deities and persons, and the position of the legs and general posture. Static posture refers to meditational deities or figures in a fixed pose where the iconography is set and defines the appearance and identity of the figure.

Dynamic posture refers to bodies in motion such as with yantra yoga and specific physical movement as taught in the Yoganiruttara classification of tantra.

Postures (asana) in the iconography of Himalayan art, generally referring to the position of the legs with reference to the body, often follow standard descriptions of deities found in the original Sanskrit and Prakrit texts of the Indian sub-continent. Many of these source texts will describe a commonly depicted posture but rather than using the same name consistently will use a different name for that same posture. This naming issue has also continued into the translated Tibetan texts and other languages of the Himalayan regions. The postures and the names are not overly complicated. For the most part the names are simply descriptive of the posture described in the ritual texts and relatively easy to follow in the visual forms depicted in Himalayan paintings and sculpture.

Jeff Watt 1-2021

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