The 58 Wrathful Deities of the Guhyagarbha Tantra
MediumPigments, gilding on sized cloth
DimensionsImage : 25 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. (64.77 x 49.53 cm)
Work : 49 x 35 1/2 in. (1.2 m x 90.17 cm)
Frame : 55 x 40 in. (1.4 x 1 m)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelThe Guhyagarbha Tantra is an important text in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The text describes two sacred diagrams (mandala) featuring 58 wrathful deities and 42 peaceful deities that provide focal points for meditation and help Nyingma followers advance toward enlightenment. Although the deities appear fierce and frightening, their mission is to protect faithful Buddhists from evil forces and from their own sinful inclinations. Proper understanding of the Guhyagarbha Tantra is achieved through a combination of instruction from a master and prolonged meditation, and paintings like this would traditionally have been shown only to experienced adepts.