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The Copper-coloured Palace, Iconography of the rNiṅ ma School of Tibetan Buddhism
Author : Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt
ISBN : 978-81-7320-151-6
Edition : 2018
Language : English
Size & Pages : 29 cm, PP. 1532, fully illus. in colour, including more than 2000 images
Publisher : Agam Kala Prakashan
Format : Hardbound
Price : Rs. INR 21000/- per set, (3 vols Set)


Prof. Dr. Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt, born in 1955 in Göttingen, Germany, is a scholar of Religious Studies, History, Indology and Tibetology. Having studied in Erlangen and Bonn and holding a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion from Bonn University, and a Habilitation from Marburg University, she now teaches in the department for the Study of Religions in the Institute for Comparative Cultural Studies in Marburg University, Germany.

Former publications include a monograph on goddesses and female symbolism in Indo-Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, a critical edition of the lHan kar ma catalogue of early Tibetan translations of Indian Buddhist texts, a catalogue of a Tibet exhibition in Marburg, two anthologies and more than hundred research articles, contributions to lexicons and other small scriptures. Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt has spent some years of research in India and Nepal, specializing in Tibetan Buddhism, women in Buddhism and Hinduism, Hindu and Buddhist religious iconography and, more recently, religion in Hindi cinema. A current research project focusses on religion and violence, especially human sacrifice, and includes non-Asian cultures as well.

The present book is the fruit of an almost life-long occupation with the religious history and iconography of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist deities.


The rÑiṅ ma pas are the only minority school of Tibetan Buddhism whose iconography differs markedly from the mainstream iconography re-presented by the gSar ma pa or new schools. Scholarly works on rÑiṅ ma iconography are quite rare and have so far never covered the whole of the rÑiṅ ma pantheon.

This book has been written as an attempt to fill this gap, trying to supply introductory as well as comprehensive information, meant for people interested in Tibetan Buddhism, whether lay persons, practitioners, or scholars. Apart from individual descriptions of the most important deities, the emphasis of this study has been laid on the pantheon as a whole, because its structure is crucial for understanding the differences between rÑiṅ ma pa and mainstream iconography.

The book includes more than 2000 photographs most of which were taken by the author herself in various monasteries and nunneries of the rÑiṅ ma school in India and Nepal and by Elke Hessel in Tibet. Over hundred images provided from other sources have been added. As far as possible, the iconography of the deities and maṇḍalas has been verified through written sources, among them the large rÑiṅ ma text collections of the Rin chen gter mdzod and the rÑiṅ ma rgyud ’bum.

In seven chapters on the iconography of Buddhas, the systems of peaceful and wrathful deities, Padmasambhava, the eight most important cycles of meditation deities (bKa’ brgyad), the protective deities and the teachers, the book describes, on the one hand, the peculiarities of the rÑiṅ ma school, but also, on the other hand, the parts of its iconography it shares with the other schools.



“Little scholarly attention has been paid until now to what is unique about the deities of the Nyingma pantheon and how they differ from the deities of the newer schools. I appreciate the effort the author has put into researching this and compiling what she has discovered in this book entitled, ‘The Copper-coloured Palace’. I am sure practitioners and students of the Nyingma tradition, as well as readers who take an interest in Tibetan religious art will welcome the work. I congratulate Dr. Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt for opening up this previously little explored area of Tibet’s rich religious tradition.”

His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama of Tibet, Dharamsala, India

“In this richly illustrated work Dr. Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt has done a great service to the scholarship of Tibetan iconography by providing a much needed analysis of the vast and understudied rÑin ma pa pantheon. It is the result of many years of research and careful scholarship that focuses on frescoes and fixed temple statues, which provide firm confirmation of their provenance, as well as deep textual studies and other iconographic images.  It is a monumental work.”

Dr. Serinity Young, Professor, Queens College, New York, U.S.A.

“This profoundly significant in-depth work is not only a pioneering and most thorough encyclopedia of Tibet‘s earliest existing Buddhist school tradition, but also a so far unseen and an indispensable iconographic reference book on esoteric Buddhism for advanced studies. It documents with a great wealth of never published icons in Nyingma monasteries and with most detailed scholarly descriptions the surprisingly extensive and still very much alive tantric pantheon as a veritable sourcebook of the Tibetan cultural heritage. Written with much wisdom and compassion, the “Copper-coloured Palace” explores and provides the fascinating image worlds of a real Tibetan Buddhist treasure house. A major achievement in Tibetan Studies!”

Dr. Michael Henss, author of The Cultural Monuments of Tibet, Zurich, Switzerland

“The rÑiṅ ma school of Tibetan Buddhism is one of the least understood, historically most enigmatic religious traditions in the world. Among Tibetan schools it stands out with doctrinal and practical specialities partly going back to ancient strata of Buddhist Tantric developments otherwise lost to us. Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt‘s encyclopedic work is a study based on years of diligent research paired with thorough historical understanding and philological mastery. Far exceeding the scientific gain of a comprehensive, systematic iconography, this book provides a map of historical interconnections, which will prove indispensable for generations of future academic gTer stons to lift the religious treasures hosted by the rÑiṅ ma tradition.”

Dr. Sven Bretfeld, Professor for South Asian Religious History,
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

“Agam Kala Prakashan (New Delhi) deserves my sincere appreciation for publishing Prof. Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt’s overwhelming new book on the Iconography of the rÑiṅ ma School of Tibetan Buddhism. What is most fascinating is the fact that within the enourmous wealth of (high quality coloured) illustrations there is not the slightest detail, e. g., deities and their retinue, attributes, mudrās, colours, functions, which would not be explained in utmost detail in this extraordinary book, based on thorough scrutinies of the sources. So the reader (and user) can be sure that Prof. Herrmann-Pfandt’s work is (and will remain) a standard encyclopaedia of Tibetan Buddhism, especially in its pristine form of the rÑiṅ ma School.”

Dr. Rudolf Kaschewsky, University of Bonn, Germany

co-author (with Geshe Pema Tsering) of sDe-dpon sum-cu: Ritual and

Iconography of the “Thirty Protector Deities of the World”, 1998 (in German)




2018, size: 29 cm, pp. 1532, fully illustrated in
colour, including more  than 2000 images + index
ISBN: 978-81-7320-151-6


` 21,000/-  = Euro 269/-
per set (3 vols.)

Euro price dependent on exchange rate



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