Dharmapala Thangka CentreTibetan Antiques

Tsa Tsa Selection

Bodhisattva Vajrapani

Vajrapāṇi [Tibetan: ཕྱག་ན་རྡོ་རྗེ། Chagna Dorje - meaning: Vajra in his hand] is one of the earliest appearing bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism. He is the protector and guide of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha's power.

Vajrapāni is also called Chagna Dorje and extensively represented in Buddhist iconography as one of the earliest three protective deities or bodhisattvas surrounding the Buddha. Each of them symbolizes one of the Buddha's virtues: Manjushri manifests all the Buddhas' wisdom, Avalokiteśvara manifests all the Buddhas' immense compassion, and Vajrapāni protects Buddha and manifests all the Buddhas' power as well as the power of all five tathāgatas [Buddhahood of the rank of Buddha].

As with many other Tsa Tsas, the iconographic representation of Vajrapani has changed over time. This is evident in the five examples depicted here.

Vajrapani [6] is clearly the oldest Tsa tsa of this category. It's relatively simple form still bears little resemblance to its later iconography. It was probably created between the 10th and 11th centuries. A comparison with Vajrapani [5] from the 14th - 15th centuries makes it clear how the design of the Vajrapani Tsa Tsas has been refined in the subsequent 200 years and how it has gained a the fascinating expressiveness and charisma.

Vajrapani [4] was created in the 15th - 16th centuries. Although it resembles the later form of the 18th/19th century, it still clearly shows differences.

In the following three further examples [Vajrapani 1 - 3], the iconographic representation that can still be found today manifests itself. Vajrapani Tsa Tsas of the last two hundred years differ only in nuances.

1000 years of Vajrapani - Time Line More ...
Vajrapani [6]
1. Vajrapani [6]
Vajrapani [5]
2. Vajrapani [5]
Vajrapani [4]
3. Vajrapani [4]
Vajrapani [3]
4. Vajrapani [3]
Vajrapani [2]
5. Vajrapani [2]
Vajrapani [1]
6. Vajrapani [1]