Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Panjarnata (Lord of the Pavilion)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 101703)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Sakya and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

TBRC: W25327

Interpretation / Description

Panjarnata Mahakala (Tibetan: gur gyi gon po, English: the Great Black One, Lord of the Pavilion).

(See Panjarnata Main Page, Outline Page and Masterworks).

"The great Vajra Mahakala blazes, with one face, two hands, holding in the right a curved knife and in the left a skullcup filled with blood held above and below the heart. Held across the middle of the two forearms is the 'Gandhi of Emanation.' With three eyes, bared fangs, yellow hair flowing upward, [he has] a crown of five dry human skulls and a necklace of fifty wet - blood dripping. Adorned with six bone ornaments and snakes, having a lower garment of tiger skin, flowing with pendants and streamers of various silks, in a posture dwarfish and thick [he] stands above a corpse." (Konchog Lhundrub 1497-1557).

The animal figures surrounding Panjarnata are symbolic of the messengers of the deity. The small figures of a black man, black woman, warrior, and a mantradharin are regarded as the outer retinue of Panjarnata Mahakala and each of the four represents a thousand-fold figures. The warrior and the black man are on the left side of the lotus seat of Panjarnata. The black woman and mantradharin are on the right side and the a fifth figure of a monk is located at the bottom right.

Panjaranata Mahakala is the protector for the Hevajra cycle of Tantras. The iconography and rituals are found in the 18th chapter of the Vajra Panjara Tantra (canopy, or pavilion), an exclusive 'explanatory tantra' to the Hevajra Tantra itself.

At the bottom left is the seated figure of Ekajati. On the right side is Shri Devi. The five figures along the bottom are the 'Putra Mising Nga' - the inner retinue of Panjarnata - Kala Rakshasa, Kala Rakshasi, Putra, Bhatra and Singmo.

Lineage: Vajradhara, Vajrapanjara Dakini, Brahmin Vararuchi, Pandita Deva Vajra, Shraddha Karavarma, Lochen Rinchen Zangpo, Drag Tengpa Yontan Tsultrim, Mal Lotsawa Lodro Drag, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), etc.

Jeff Watt 4-2012

Numbered Image:
1. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
2. Sonam Tsemo
3. Dragpa Gyaltsen
4. Sakya Pandita
5. Chogyal Pagpa
6. unidentified
7. unidentified
8. unidentified
9. Ekajati
10. Shri Devi
11. Kala Rakshasa
12. Kala Rakshasi
13. Putra
14. Bhatra
15. Singmo

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Mahakala: Panjarnata, Lord of the Pavilion (Main Page)
Collection: Lhasa Museums (Miscellaneous)
Mahakala: Panjarnata Religious Context
Mahakala: Panjarnata Masterworks (Painting & Textile)
Subject: Greyscale - Figurative & General Composition