Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi in Sexual Embrace
Deities representing skill and wisdom united to create the path to enlightenment
Thangka (Hanging Painting)
Artist/maker unknown, Central Tibetan. Commissioned by bLo-gros bZang-po, Tibetan, 1360 - 1423.
In the center of this powerful image, dark blue-skinned Chakrasamvara stands locked in sexual embrace with his bright red consort Vajravarahi. Like all male deities shown in union, Chakrasamvara represents skillful means—the tools one uses on the path to enlightenment—while the female Vajravarahi represents the wisdom necessary to progress along that path. A great fiery halo encircles the couple, its flames elaborately detailed with the scrolling foliage characteristic of Newar-style paintings. At the upper right appears a tiny image of Vajravarahi in her solitary form (called Vajrayogini), and next to her sits the white-robed Tibetan teacher Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the founder of the Sakya lineage.