Mouseover Zoom loading...

Lot *18


Estimated Value:

3.000 € - 5.000 €


16.000 €


Bhutan, 19th ct.
81 x 54 (156 x 90) cm
Vajrakilaya is an important meditation deity, both for members of the rNyingma pa and among the lamas of the Brug pa school in Bhutan. In traditional lore, Vajrakilaya has a special place, highlighted as a special deity by Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of the rNyingma school in the 8th century, and the revered second Buddha who helped establish the Buddhadharma in the snow country. Furthermore, the wisdom partner and disciple of Guru Padmasambhava Yeshe Tsogyal is also famous for having attained enlightenment through the practice of Vajrakilaya. Vajrakilaya is an extremely important deity who is invoked for the removal of obstacles and hindrances on the path of Vajrayana. He embodies the wrathful emanation of the Tathagata Vajrasattva who is regarded as the deity who represents the condensed essence of all deities, all of which are to be understood as one embodiment, including the emanations of body, speech and mind. The inner nature of Vajrakilaya is peace, and his wrathful outer appearance should not be misunderstood in this, for the expression of wrath is directed against all mental disturbances and obstacles. Vajrakilaya is a wisdom deity who embodies and reveals the true nature of our mind. Vajrakilaya is the deity of the magic dagger, of which there are various manifestations. This thangka shows the deity as Heruka with three heads, six arms and four legs, as well as the wings of Garuda. This attribute is particularly significant because the mythical bird Garuda is considered the enemy and destroyer of snakes (nagas) that cause disturbances and all kinds of diseases. The black and blue Heruka also has a white face on his right side and a red face on his left. Above the wrathful heads, each with three eyes and the crown of the skull, a snake coils around his mop of hair, as well as around all the joints of his limbs. Over his back is a spread elephant skin, demonstrating his size and mightiness, as well as the flayed skin of a human being. As a loincloth he wears the skin of a tiger as a sign of his dignity. A garland of freshly cut off human heads strung on human intestines hangs from his neck. As attributes Vajrakilaya wears a wrathful golden fivefold vajra, with open clasps, and a peaceful fivefold vajra, whose clasps rest against the central axis. In the upper left hand the deity holds a flame, and the trident staff with dried skull, and red tassel in the middle left hand. In the lower pair of hands the deity wields the magical iron dagger with whose three-edged blade the three mental poisons - avarice, hatred and pride - are destroyed. The Phurba attacks the false conception of grasping for true inherent nature of the object-like phenomena so that the realisation arises that the object-like phenomena are not true and their nature is empty. At the same time, Vajrakilaya embraces the blue-coloured dakini holding a kapala in her left hand and the sickle knife behind the deity's back in her right hand, as her tantric symbols. The wisdoms of the Five Tathagatas are reflected in this meditation image through the five emanations arranged in the central representation of Vajrakilaya and the four emanations corresponding to the four cardinal directions. They appear in the five colours of the Tathagatas - Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi and Vairocana. All four attendant emanations bear Garuda wings, different attributes and stand above hinder spirits of human appearance. In the celestial realm, a lama (Padmasambhava?) with a red pointed bonnet and an iron phurba stuck in his belt appears in the centre. A stupa is depicted next to him. To the right, enthroned on a moon-photo, is Padmasambhava's disciple - Yeshe Tsoghyal - holding a kapala in her left hand. The first king of Bhutan, Shabdrung Rinpoche (1594-1651), with his characteristic hooked beard, appears below the lama. To his left and right are two Buddhas, iconographically white and blue in colour, holding a lute and a sword in their hands. It is possible that this thangka originates from a series of other meditation pictures, so that the accompanying deities, taken out of context, cannot be verified exactly. Thus the central deity in the lower section cannot be identified exactly, especially as each school has created its own pantheon, which often differs from the better-known ones. It is a three-headed deity of green colour, in yab-yum, with her red-coloured partner. The male apparition is six-armed and holds in his hands: (r) Dharmarad, sword and vajra; (l) rope, phur ba and bell. In the left corner is the wealth deity Vaishravana and opposite, on an elephant, Pehar Kunga Gyalpo, accompanied by a female partner. Chinese silk mount: top horizontal inscription "Jiangning zhi ju Guangyuan hao" (Jiangning Weaving Factory, Guangyuan Branch), Republic period.
From an old private collection Rhineland, assembled between the 1960s and 2007
Minor wear