Burkhumkuta vajrapani is a tantric deity whose function it is to eradicate illness and disease. In this context, vajrapani is used as an epithet, meaning ‘thunderbolt bearer’, and the deity is not a wrathful form of bodhisattva Vajrapani.
Almost exclusively represented on paintings, he has a wrathful look, with one or three heads, each with three eyes, bared fangs, orange hair and a 5-skull crown, 2 legs, 2 to 6 arms. In one of his right hands he holds a double thunderbolt or visvajra (unlike wrathful Vajrapani who holds a simple vajra). He wears a tiger skin and snake ornaments.
When represented with 6 hands, he normally holds the visvajra, a 5-prong vajra and a vajra hook in his right hands. In his left hands he may have a vajra stick and a vajra lasso, the third hand in a symbolical gesture or mudra. The above figure has a bone apron over his tiger skin dhoti (the paws of the animal are dangling between his legs), a thin celestial scarf, a short necklace with a lotus flower, lotus earrings and the usual bodhisattva jewellery as well as snake ornaments. This hair on this very rare statue has been painted with red pigment.