A thangka of Padmasambhava and his eight emanations
Mongolia, 18th/19th century
Ground mineral pigment on cloth, mounted in silks and framed; the teacher is rendered with a fierce expression with flaring moustache and eyebrows. His right hand holds to the heart an upright gold vajra and the left hand placed in the lap holds a white skullcup filled with nectar, jewels and a long-life vase. The ornate katvanga staff of a Vajrayana mendicant has a flaming center blade rests against the left shoulder. He wears a lotus hat of silk brocade topped with a half-vajra and a single peacock feather. Attired in various robes of different colors and adorned with large earrings and necklaces, he sits atop a moon edged with stamens of the multi-colored lotus blossom rising from the blue waters of Dhanakosha lake. Flanking the seat are Mandarava, Yeshe Tsogyal, and three other female attendants offer skull bowls brimming with nectar. A further two female attendants and a leaf-clad mythical figure make futher offerings from the water below.
At the top center is the primordial buddha Samantabhadra in union with consort and below Buddha Amitabha, holding a begging bowl and below him is Avalokitesvara in the form of Chenrize. This group is flanked by six forms of Padmasambhava as treasure revealers from the Peling realms.
Occupying the remaining field are his eight main manifestations; Guru Oddiyana Vajradhara, blue in colour, holds up a vajra with the right hand and a bell pressed to the hip with the left; embracing the consort. Guru Shakya Simha, in the appearance of buddha with the 32 and 80 marks, holds a vajra in the right hand extended over the knee and in the left a begging bowl in the lap. Guru Padmasambhava, appearing as a monk with a red pandita hat, holds a begging bowl with the right hand and the left performs the mudra of explication. Guru Simhanada, very wrathful, blue in colour, holds a gold vajra in the raised right hand and performs a wrathful mudra with the outstretched left; completely surrounded by flames.Guru Padma Raja, in the appearance of a king holding a damaru drum in the right hand and a bowl containing an upright gold mirror in the left. Guru Loden Chog Se, holds a damaru in the right hand and a skullcup in the left. Guru Surya Rasmi is yellow like the sun, in the appearance of a mahasiddha with a skull crown and tiger skin garment. He holds a katvanga staff in the right hand and from the fingers of the left rays of the sun shine forth. Guru Dorje Drollo, wrathful, maroon in color, holds a gold vajra in the upraised right hand and a black kila in the left. Riding on the back of a fierce tigress he is surrounded by the flames of pristine awareness.
The bottom section has three further meditational forms of Padmasambhava with by Guru Dragpo at the center and he is flanked by Heruka on the right and Pema Jungne on the left.
39 x 78 in. (67 x 93 in. with silks) (99 x 198.1 (170.2 x 236.2) cm.)