Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa maingrid
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

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Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Tibet (Drigung Kagyu School); prior to 1217
Pigments on cloth
C2003.7.1 (HAR 65205)

This drawing was not meant to be hung on the wall as a work of art, but once folded, and possibly placed in an amulet, it was intended solely for veneration. The work was developed around the footprints, which share a lotus throne with the deity between them. The shapes of the footprints have certainly been idealized, but the spot at the lower left may well have resulted from the application of original prints. This work has captions in red identifying each figure, making it a “rosetta stone” for identifying these figures in other paintings of this school.

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Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa protectors maindeities teachers
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Three-Fold Division

The composition of this painting follows a three-fold division that is typical of Tibetan painting. At the top are the teachers whose instruction is essential to the practice represented by the painting. In the center are the main deities to whom that practice is
devoted. At the bottom are various protectors, wealth deities, and other figures within the Buddhist pantheon.

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Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking flanking_d teaching_lineage main_deities protector
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Teachers and Deities

The top register of the painting depicts a group of eight teachers flanked by two pairs of deities.

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Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking flanking2 main protector vajradhara tilopa naropa marpa milarepa gampopa phagmodurpa drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Teaching Lineage

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

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Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking flanking2 tilopa naropa marpa milarepa gampopa phagmodurpa drigungpa closewindow tilopa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Vajradhara

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

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Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking gampopa vajradhara next naropa milarepa marpa flanking2 phagmodurpa drigungpa closewindow
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Tilopa

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking gampopa vajradhara tilopa milarepa marpa flanking2 phagmodurpa drigungpa closewindow next
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Naropa

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking gampopa vajradhara tilopa milarepa naropa flanking2 phagmodurpa drigungpa closewindow next
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Marpa

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking gampopa vajradhara tilopa marpa naropa flanking2 phagmodurpa drigungpa closewindow next
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Milarepa

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking milarepa vajradhara tilopa marpa naropa flanking2 phagmodurpa drigungpa closewindow next
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Gampopa

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking milarepa vajradhara tilopa marpa naropa flanking2 gampopa drigungpa closewindow next
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Phagmodrupa

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa flanking flanking2 milarepa vajradhara naropa tilopa marpa gampopa phagmodrupa closewindow next
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Drigungpa

The teaching lineage in this drawing is a very
common one belonging to the Kagyu School
of Tibetan Buddhism. The lineage consists of
two trios of figures on either side of a central
pair and form a direct line to Drigungpa, the
founder of this school and the teacher to whom
the footprints depicted belong. The order of
the lineage is indicated by the numbers.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa teaching main protector vajrasattva akshobhya shakyamuni medicine_buddha
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Flanking Deities

The four deities on either side of the teaching
lineage represent Buddhist teachings different
than those of the main deities. These teachings
are less important, and thus these !gures are
placed in a secondary position.

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A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa akshobhya teaching protector akshobhya shakyamuni medicine_buddha exit
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Vajrasattva

The four deities on either side of the teaching
lineage represent Buddhist teachings different
than those of the main deities. These teachings
are less important, and thus these figures are
placed in a secondary position.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa medicine_buddha teaching exit shakyamuni protector vajrasattva shakyamuni
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Akshobhya

The four deities on either side of the teaching
lineage represent Buddhist teachings different
than those of the main deities. These teachings
are less important, and thus these !gures are
placed in a secondary position.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa medicine_buddha teaching exit medicine_buddha protector vajrasattva akshobhya
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Shakyamuni

The four deities on either side of the teaching
lineage represent Buddhist teachings different
than those of the main deities. These teachings
are less important, and thus these !gures are
placed in a secondary position.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa medicine_buddha teaching exit protector protector vajrasattva akshobhya
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Medicine Buddha

The four deities on either side of the teaching
lineage represent Buddhist teachings different
than those of the main deities. These teachings
are less important, and thus these !gures are
placed in a secondary position.

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A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa teachers and deities maindeities mahakala jambhala amritakundalin hayagriva guhyapati achala ganapati remati
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Protector Deities

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

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A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa jambhala exit teachers and deities jambhala amritakundalin hayagriva guhyapati achala ganapati remati
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Mahakala

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa next exit teachers and deities mahakala amritakundalin hayagriva guhyapati achala ganapati remati
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Jambhala

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa next exit teachers and deities mahakala jambhala hayagriva guhyapati achala ganapati remati
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Amritakundalin

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa next exit teachers and deities jambhala mahakala amritakundalin guhyapati achala ganapati remati
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Hayagriva

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa next exit teachers and deities ganapati remati achala hayagriva amritakundalin mahakala jambhala
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Guhyapati

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa next exit teachers and deities ganapati remati guhyapati hayagriva amritakundalin mahakala jambhala
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Achala

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa mahakala jambhala amritakundalin hayagriva guhyapati achala remati next protector teachersdeities
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Ganapati

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa mahakala jambhala amritakundalin hayagriva guhyapati achala protector teachersdeities ganapati maindeities
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Remati

The bottom row of this work features
lower protective deities, here framed by a
scrolling vine that comes from a vase
placed on a diamantine (vishvavajra)
foundation at the center of the row. This
scrollwork is another characteristic of
early Drigung painting.

CLICK A FIGURE TO GET
A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa protector lotus eight guhyasamaja guhyasamaja teachers chakrasamvara eight footprints footprints
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Main Deities

The section of this drawing featuring the
main deities is rather complex. The primary
feature is certainly the representation of
the teacher Drigungpa’s footprints flanking
the deity Chakrasamvara. They share a
common throne and are flanked by eight
mahasiddhas. The depiction of Drigungpa
is further flanked by deities of the
Guhyasamaja Tantra.
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A CLOSER LOOK

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Footprints of Drigungpa

These footprints belong to Drigungpa
(1143–1217), the last teacher in the lineage
shown at the top of the drawing. Although
liberties were certainly taken with the
shape of these prints, the stain in the
lower-left portion of the canvas suggests
that the actual footprints may at one time
have been applied. These prints, like
traditional depictions of the Buddha’s
feet, are marked by auspicious symbols.

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Chakrasamvara

The deity Chakrasamvara is depicted here as
semi-wrathful and is shown embracing his
female partner, Vajrayogini. Chakrasamvara
shares a lotus throne with the footprints
of Drigungpa, thus placing the teacher
at the same level as this deity. This is an
artistic expression of a meditative practice
called guru yoga, in which the practitioner
visualizes their teacher as a specific deity.

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Eight Mahasiddhas

Depicted at the sides of the painting are
the Eight Mahasiddhas, or “Great Adepts.”
They are shown in a form specific for
early Drigung Kagyu School paintings.
Most characteristic of this style are the
top illustrations on either side. At top
left Indrabhuti and his consort are
shown accompanied by Virupa. At top
right Buddha Shakyamuni is “anked
by Nagarjuna and Atisha.

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Deities of the Guhyasamaja Tantra

The ten deities flanking Drigungpa in the second register of the painting represent the five buddhas of the Guhyasamaja Tantra and their female partners. Interestingly the buddhas’ consorts take a more prominent position, as they are shown on the left side of the drawing. These female partners are identified by name, while the buddhas are identified by qualities to overcome.

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Lotus Throne

The deity Chakrasamvara and the footprints of Drigungpa share
the same double-lotus throne. On the cloth in front of the throne’s
center is a triple jewel, often used in early Drigung School painting
and a reference to the ordination name Drigungpa. The two snake
(naga) kings holding the throne at its sides, here identified as Anavatapta and Apalala, are another characteristic of the early paintings of this school.

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa purification central
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Back of the Drawing

The texts and images on the back of Tibetan art
objects reveal clues to their meaning, function,
and historical context.

CLICK THE INSCRIPTION OR ANY
MANTRA FOR MORE INFORMATION

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Central Inscription

The central text on the back of this work
contains both the purification mantra
for the main deity written vertically and
two verses in different languages. The
upper verse is in Sanskrit and serves as
a consecration mantra, while the lower
verse is an instigation to follow the
Buddhist teachings.

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa
Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa

Purification Mantras

On the back of this work there are puri!cation mantras for
each of the historical figures and deities represented on the
front. The mantra consists of the three syllables “om a hum”
written vertically and aligning with the back of the head,
neck, and heart of each figure.

Chakrasamvara and the Footprints of Drigungpa