Sunday, April 15, 2012

Maharakta Ganapati

There are a number of very good paintings and sculpture of Maharakta Ganapati. This however has to be the best of the late paintings, likely to be 18th century. As for the provenance, it was owned in the 1960s by the Kumar Galleries of New Delhi and later sold to the Guimet Museum in Paris sometime in the early 1970s. Also during this period the painting was made into a poster and offered for sale in both Europe and North America.

The painting was commissioned by someone of the Sakya Tradition. The composition has several unique features such as the Ratnasambhava Buddha at the top center accompanied by several Sakya teachers, the special form of Bhutadamara Vajrapani unique to the Maharakta practice, and the Yugu Chesum - three wealth sisters - at the bottom center. It is really a fantastic example both for art and iconography of an important Power Deity in the Sakya Tradition.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Virupa Page on the HAR Website - Updated

Virupa, the Lord of Yoga, 9th century (Tibetan: bir wa pa, nal jor wang chug); foremost in magical attainments amongst the 84 mahasiddhas of India. He can appear in a number of different forms and colours. He can also appear in different contexts such as a set of lineage images, a narrative scene, the set of Eighty-four Mahasiddhas, as a Guruyoga meditation form, etc. Virupa is not unique to any one tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and therefore can be found almost anywhere. In the Sakya Tradition Virupa is typically depicted in one or all of six textually documented forms that follow the major events in his life story.

The image of the sculpture on the left is from the Lamdre Lhakang at Gyantse Palkor Chode in Tsang, Tibet. In this form Virupa is displaying a teaching gesture (mudra).

When depicted with the right arm raised in the air and performing a wrathful gesture Virupa can easily be mistaken for the Nyingma teacher Shri Simha who appears in a similar posture and gesture.

"Reversing the Ganga and subduing the evil king; while holding the sun - drinking the liquor of the entire country, without being drunk; completely shattering the Linga and subduing the Chandali; to the renowned Lord of Power, I bow my head." (Sakya liturgical verse).