Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Shadbhuja (Six-hands, Shangpa)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 100636)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Publication: A Tale of Thangkas
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shadbhuja Vajra Mahakala (Tibetan: dor je nag po, gon po chag drug pa, English: the Great Vajra Black One with Six Hands).

"The Lord of Pristine Awareness has six hands and a body dark blue in colour. The first two hold a curved knife and skullcup, the middle two a human skull mala and trident, the lowest two a damaru drum and lasso. Adorned with a tiger skin, garland of heads, bones and snakes, and small bells on the hands and feet. Standing in a manner with the two legs together pressing down on Ganapati. With three eyes, bared fangs, eyebrows, beard and hair flowing upward with Akshobhya as a crown. Anointed with a sindhura drop on the forehead. Supported behind by a sandalwood tree, dwelling in the middle of a blazing mass of fire." (Jonang Taranatha, 1575-1634).

There are five principal retinue deities:
- Takkiraja (male, blue)
- Jinamitra (male, red)
- Trakshe (male, riding a horse)
- Kshetrapala (male, riding a bear)
- Shri Devi (female, riding a mule)

Jeff Watt [2-2016]

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Mahakala: Shadbhuja [Shangpa] Page (Six-hands)
Publication: A Tale of Thangkas