Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Parasol/Umbrella

Symbols Page (Buddhist)

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Eight Auspicious Symbols (parasol)
--- Symbol
--- Offering Object
- Sitatapatra
- Dharmatala
- Drenpa Namkha
- Khyenri Painting Style
- Confusions: victory banner (Vaishravana)
- Others...

- Parasol Imagery
- Sitatapatra: White Parasol

The parasol is used as an emblem of royalty and protection as found in the number set of the Eight Auspicious Symbols. The meditational deity Ushnisha Sitatapatra is named after a white umbrella that she holds as her principal attribute. Dharmatala, the attendant to the Sixteen Elders, has a parasol/umbrella attached to his book carrying back pack. The Bon teacher, and sometimes object of meditation, Drenpa Namkha is shown in several iconographic variations holding the attribute of a parasol held in an upraised hand.

The Khyenri painting style of the 15th century often includes a parasol above the heads of buddha figures and teachers, both mahasiddhas and Tibetan monastics. The siddha Virupa is commonly presented in a narrative scene with a young woman holding a parasol/umbrella above his head. The parasol is also included in many sets of initiation cards either included with the full set of Eight Auspicious symbols or as a single ritual object among other objects. It is likely that the parasol is also included as an attribute with other iconographic figures or used in additional ritual applications.

Jeff Watt 7-2022

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