Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Vajravali (Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo)

Vajravali (Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo) | Vajravali Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Painting Set Description (below)
- Masterworks
- Confusions
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Painting Numbers:
- Painting #1
- Painting #2
- Painting #3
- Painting #4
- Painting #5: Hevajra, Body, Speech, Mind, Essence
- Painting #6
- Painting #7: Red, Blue, Yellow Varahi, Humkara
- Painting #8: Samvara, Shadchakra, 72 Deity
- Painting #9
- Painting #10
- Painting #11: Kalachakra Kaya Vak Chitta, 634 Deity
- Painting #12
- Painting #13: Vajradhatu, Shakya Simha, Bhutadamara, Marichi
- Painting #14: Pancha Raksha, Vasudhara, ?, Ushnishavijaya
- Vajravali List of Deities

Vajravali, Ngor Mandala set. (Tibetan: dor je treng wa): a set of fourteen paintings, with a possible fifteenth painting as the centerpiece, depicting the forty-two mandalas of the Vajravali Ritual text compiled by Abhayakaragupta in the 11th century. Currently only seven others from the set are known. The Guimet Museum in Paris (#2), the Kimball Museum in Texas (#14), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (#5), and the Rubin Museum of Art (#13 beginning with the mandala of Vairochana Manjuvajra) each have one painting. The three remaining paintings are found in private collections in Europe and the USA (#7, #8, and Kalachakra #11). The Kimball Museum painting is #14 and the last in the sequence and depicts the final four mandalas of the Vajravali series as commissioned by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo.

The paintings were commissioned by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1456) between 1430 and 1456 to commemorate the passing of one of his principal spiritual teachers, Sazang Pagpa Shonnu Lodro (1358-1412/1424). The work was done at Ngor Monastery, Tsang Province, Tibet, by six Newar artists from Kathmandu Valley including the artist Wanguli and his brother.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has another painting from a different Vajravali set but likely from the same atelier and time period titled Six Chakravartins as does the Freer Gallery of Art with a painting depicting four mandalas.

Jeff Watt 3-2007

See Early Tibetan Mandalas: The Rossi Collection.

Also see: Sacred Visions, Early paintings from Central Tibet. Steven M. Kossak and Jane Casey Singer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998. (Exhibition web page).