Tibetan deity card by Robert Beer, 4" x 6".
Within the Nyingma tradition the 'Lion-faced Dakini' Simhamukha (Tib. seng ge dong ma) is an important yidam or meditation deity of the wisdom or 'mother class' of tantras, and recognized as a wrathful manifestation of Guhyajnana Dakini, the 'Secret wisdom dakini', who was the main female teacher of Guru Rinpoche. In this respect she is regarded as the 'Queen of Dakinis' in the terma or 'revealed treasure' traditions, and also as the secret aspect that Guru Rinpoche assumed while receiving empowerments from Guhyajnana Dakini in Vajrasana or Bodh Gaya. In Sanskrit she may also be known as Simhavaktra or Simhamukhi, and her various sadhana practices are essentially designed to prolong life and eliminate obstacles to spiritual development.
Simhamukha is wrathful and dark blue in colour, with the fierce and frowning head of a white lion that gazes to the left. Her leonine face has two round and bloodshot yellow eyes, a gaping mouth that reveals her sharp teeth and long red tongue, and the tawny-red hair of her eyebrows and mane flows upwards above her five-skull crown. Her nubile body is adorned with gold bracelets, armlets and anklets; the five bone ornaments of a dakini; a tiger-skin loincloth, and a long garland of fifty freshly severed and blood-dripping heads. She stands in dancing bow-and-arrow posture with her right leg drawn up and her left leg extended, as her left foot tramples upon the breasts of a male and female corpse that both lie prone upon her sun-disc and lotus seat. With her right hand she holds aloft a vajra-handled curved knife that she circles towards the ten directions, and with her left hand she holds a blood-filled skull-cup in front of her heart. In the crook of her left arm she supports her tantric-staff or khatvanga, which is adorned with a golden crossed-vajra and nectar vase, a billowing white silk ribbon, a freshly severed head, a decaying head, a dry white skull, and the crowning symbol of a golden vajra. Light rays emanate from her radiant blue-black body, and she abides within a blazing circle of awareness fire. - Robert Beer