Portraits of great historical religious teachers (lamas) often present the distinctive physical features of their subjects to convey something of the character of the individual portrayed. Such images also tend to display visual parallels with the arhat and mahasiddha genres.
The Buddha, meaning awakened person, referred first to Shakyamuni, whose teachings became the foundation of Buddhism.
Bodhisattvas aspire to become awakened like the Buddha and are dedicated to helping others achieve enlightenment.
Tantric deities are the focus of esoteric religious practices (tantras) that aim to swiftly and radically transform a practitioner’s conventional understanding of reality.
Female tantric deities symbolize the wisdom aspect of the enlightened mind and and they can be peaceful or wrathful in appearance.
There are two kinds of deities that appear as wrathful, with flaming hair, bulging eyes, open mouths showing fangs, and garlands of severed heads.
Buddhist and Hindu traditions spread side by side in the same communities in India and Nepal, and some of the deities in the two religions are associated with similar myths.