The Guardian Kings of Kumbum in Gyantse, Tibet
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The four figures in the four cardinal directions are those of the Guardian Kings. Tibet`s outstsnding artistic achievements. Built and decorated between 1427-1439 by Prince Rabten Kunzang Phak in the style known as Tashi Gomang or Kumbum.
Only two kings are visible on this picture; Virudhaka (in the back), and Vimpaksha (in front)
The Four Great Guardian Kings (རྒྱལ་ཆེན་སྡེ་བཞི gyelchen dezhi) are:
Dhiritarashtra (ཡུལ་འཁོར་སྲུང་ yünkhorsung) is the Guardian King of the East. The celestial lute symbolizes his presence on the board. His paradise is on Mt. Kailash, in Tibet. Mt. Kailash is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for both Buddhist and Hindus. (green face at Kumbum, normal is white)
Vimpaksha (སྤྱན་མི་བཟང་ chenmizang) is the Guardian King of the West. He holds a small stupa in his hand. He is the protector of Buddhism in the land west of Mt. Kailash. (red face)
Vishravana (རྣམ་ཐོས་སྲས namtösé) is the Guardian King of the North. In his right hand he holds a parasol, in his left hand he holds a mongoose from whose mouth spills jewels. His paradise is on Mt. Kanchenjunga (K2), on Tibet’s border with India. (yellow face)
Virudhaka (འཕགས་སྐྱེས་པོ pakkyepo) is the Guardian King of the South. He holds a flaming sword in his hand. He protects and helps in the spread of Buddhism in the land south of Mt Kailash. (blue face)
This is within the Gyantse Kumbum , the stupa of 100,000 deities. On the second storey, (east) the Four Guardian Kings are found (staircase to third storey).