Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Confused Visual Subjects (List)

Page 1: Confused Visual Subjects (List) | Page 2: Confused Visual Subjects (Explanation) | Protectors: Common Confusions

Many iconographic forms look very similar to each other. Because of this similarity in appearance there is often confusion over identifications of both deities and human figures. The list below is a general survey of the most commonly confused figurative subjects in Himalayan and Tibetan art. (Also see the Iconography Main Page and Figurative Art Outline Page).

Confused Visual Subjects:
- Amitayus, Avalokiteshvara, Vajradharma
- Avalokiteshvara (11 Faces), Kunzang Gyalwa Gyatso, Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa
- Brahmarupa Mahakala, Mahasiddhas
- Chakrasamvara, Shri Hevajra, Mahamaya, Buddhakapala, etc.
- Dorje Shugden, Dorje Legpa, Dorje Ta'og
- Gesar, Dralha and Mountain Gods
- Guhyasamaja & Namasangiti Forms of Manjushri
- Jambhala, Aparajita, Vaishravana, Twelve Yaksha Generals
- Karmapa black hat & Jamchen Choje Shakya Yeshe black hat
- Krishna Yamari, Yama Dharmaraja (outer)
- Magyu Sangchog Tartug, Shri Hevajra & Chakrasamvara
- Mahakala Subjects: Gonpo Maning, Gonpo Legden, Gonpo Chesum
- Manjushri (white) and Tara (White)
- Milarepa, Ngagwang Tanpa'i Gyaltsen & Shabkar Tsogdrug Rangdrol
- Nagarjuna, Nagaraja Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha
- Padmasambhava, Yungdrung Tongdrol, Misc. Nyingma Teachers
- Sage of Long Life, Arhats
- Sakya Pandita, Buton, Tsongkapa, Ngorchen, Bodongpa, Gongkar Dorjeden
- Sarasvati, Indra (wheel of Life paintings)
- Shakyamuni Buddha & Akshobhya Buddha
- Shamar, Gyaltsab & Situ - Red Hats
- Simhamukha: [1] ishtadevata, [2] attendant, [3] retinue figure
- Ten Wrathful Ones & various other deities such as Hayagriva
- Tsang Nyon Heruka, Mahasiddhas
- Tsiu Marpo, Dorje Setrab, Dragtsen
- Vajrabhairava, Mahottara, Vishvarupa
- Vajrakila, Guru Dragpur & Purba Drugse Chempa, Simhamukha
- Vajrapani (wrathful), Vajravidarana, Sengge Dradog, Kartaridhara, Yama Dharmaraja (inner)
- Vajrasattva, Vajradhara, Vajradharma, Vajrapani (peaceful)

Jeff Watt 4-2011

(The three images below are examples of often confused and miss-identified subjects).