Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Hayagriva Iconography

Hayagriva Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Study Topics:
--- Colours
--- Physical Appearance
--- Text Collections (Compendia)
--- Nyingma & Sarma Traditions
- Outline Page
- With Wings
- Consort
- Miscellaneous Forms
- Ten Wrathful Ones
- Yantra
- Rinjung Lhantab
- Confusions: Guru Dragpo, Mahakala Riding a Tiger, Rakta Yamari, Mahabala
- Others...

- Hayagriva
- Hayagriva Study Topics
- Black Hayagriva: HAR #4
- Black Hayagriva
- Hayagriva with Wings
- Four Interesting Hayagriva Paintings (HAR on Patreon)

Names, Characteristics & Colour:
- Lineage Name
- Text Compendium Name
- Red, black or white colour
- Wrathful in appearance
- One or three green horse heads on top of the central head
- Others...

Combined Deities:
- Vajrapani, Hayagriva, Garuda Combined (Lhodrag Khenchen)
- Amitayus Hayagriva Combined (Tangtong Gyalpo)
- Amoghapasha Five Deity (including Hayagriva)
- Khasarpana Five Deity (including Hayagriva)
- Hayagriva/Garuda/Guru Dragpo Combined
- Others...

There are only four principal forms of Hayagriva that are commonly represented in art. The four are the [1] one face, two armed form, with or without a consort, the [2] three faced, six armed form of Kyergangpa from the Shangpa tradition, the [3] Padma Ishvara principally practiced in the Sakya and Sera Monastery traditions and the [4] Black Hayagriva of the Nyingma.

In Hayagriva's most basic form he is typically red in colour, with one face and two hands, peaceful or wrathful in appearance. The most important iconographic characteristic is a horse head, typically green in colour, placed above the central wrathful face. The horse image can be single or as many as three horse heads per wrathful face of Hayagriva.

There is a variant form of Hayagriva where the three deities Vajrapani, Hayagriva and Garuda, are merged together as one. Hayagriva can also be represented at the top of the handle of a 'kila' peg.

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Jeff Watt 2-2003 [updated 7-2013, 5-2017, 12-2019]

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