Red Hayagriva has three heads, each with three eyes, three horses’ heads and a five-skull tiara, six hands holding various attributes (most missing here) and eight legs treading on eight nagas, wearing a human hide and an elephant hide across his back, a garland of freshly severed heads around his neck, a Chinese-style cross-belt with long pendants. Four legs are bent and the others are stretched.
This form of the deity is also known as ‘Secret Accomplishment’ and is a wrathful form of buddha Amitabha. The above wears the tiger skin sideways, the head resting over his right knee as if devouring it, in the Tibetan fashion.
On this parcel-gilt Chinese-style version, the tiger skin is worn with the head of the animal at the back and the tail forming a triangle at the front.
On this painted example we can see that each face was painted a different colour. The main one is meant to be green, the others are red and white respectively. Two of his arms are missing, the lower ones hold a thunderbolt sceptre and possibly a bell, the others would have held a sword and a spear or a ritual staff and a lasso made of intestine.
This pot-bellied one-head and two-hand Hayagriva wears his tiger skin loin cloth with the head of the animal over his right knee and the tail at the front. The artist has applied gilding everywhere except the face, giving him a more wrathful aspect. He treads on two victims and is adorned with snakes, including a long one worn as a sacred cord, a five-skull crown, a garland of freshly severed heads, some jewellery and he has a horse’s head on top of his flaming hair.