Masters of Sitavana

This painting depicts a man and a woman who are mere skeletons with no skin or flesh. They are standing and dancing with the legs bent, and present a fearsome image.

This image is also known as "those who dwell in cemeteries" and the figures are guardians of the dakinis or Anuttarayoga deities. In modern Tibetan areas, however, they are mainly guardian deities of sky burials.

The skeletal bodies of the masters of Sitavana represent the void of the Buddhist teaching, and in their right hands they hold human skulls symbolising the extinguishing of anger.

In their left hands they hold skull cups full of fresh blood symbolising the drinking of the blood of demons and enemies. There are generally depictions of sitavana in the lower sections of paintings in the halls to guardian deities in Tibetan Buddhist temples but they do not usually appear in the sutra halls.

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