Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Maning (Eunuch)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 208)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma
Size 86.36x58.42cm (34x23in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1995.25.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Neuter

Interpretation / Description

Eunuch Lord (Tibetan: pal ye she gyi gon po ma ning nag po. English: the Glorious Lord of Pristine Awareness, Black Eunuch): from the Revealed Treasure (terma) tradition, body emanation of Mahakala and lord of all enlightened and worldly protectors.

Tibetan: Ma ning

"...Glorious Lord of Pristine Awareness, Black Eunuch, with a body blue-black in colour, one face and two hands. Holding aloft in the right, pointed to the sky, a flaming lance, and in the left a poisoned heart and lasso. With three round red eyes, a curled tongue and hanging black snakes for hair. Having a crown of five dry skulls and a necklace of fifty fresh. Adorned with a garland of hearts and piles of snakes, dressed in silk cloaks, black and layered. Having a gold belt and a girdle of fresh human skin. From the three doors of a great stick of sandalwood, fastened at the waist, an army of snakes is dispersed. Decorated with varieties of colourful flowing streamers and all the frightful ornaments. Standing with the left leg extended atop a corpse seat..." (Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje 1646-1714 and Minling Lochen Dharmashri 1654-1718. Tibetan source text 'dod 'jo bum bzang pp. 121-123).

Lineage: Kuntu Zangpo, Chemchog, Palgon, Orgyan Yab-yum, Terton Chowang, Manlungpa, Dagton, Nyenton, Sedingpa Khupon, Paljor Wangchug, Chokyi Wangpo, Karma Guru, Nyadag Trulku, Chowang Kunzang, Rigdzin Tinle Lhundrup, etc. Also see the variant lineages of Dorje Lingpa, Ratna Lingpa, Pema Lingpa and Jatson Nyingpo. (Tibetan source text page 20).

Detailed Description: Fiercely wrathful, staring with three bulging round red eyes, mouth gaping red with bared fangs, the hair flows upward interspersed with writhing snakes. The right hand holds upright a spear and pendant, the left holds to the mouth the heart of an enemy. Adorned with a crown of five dry skulls, earrings and a garland of fresh human heads, he wears a long black cloak with sleeves, ornate with design, covered with a human skin. Tucked into the sash at the waist is a red 'ghandi' stick made of sandalwood. Attired in boots, with the right leg bent and left straight atop two prone figures, flat sun disc and lotus flower, he stands surrounded by the burning flames of pristine awareness.

"Glorious great emanation of the body of the Great Black One, trustee of the king of the wrathful, executioner of enemies and hindrances, great deity, glorious and blazing, lord of all Dharma protectors; homage to the glorious lord, Black Eunuch." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

At the top center is Chemchog Heruka with one face and two hands, holding a vajra aloft in the right and a skullcup to the heart with the left, embracing the consort. Wrathful in appearance, he stands with a pair of outstretched wings behind. At the left is the wrathful protector Rahula, with nine faces, a large mouth on the stomach and the torso and arms covered with eyes. Held in the first pair of hands is a makara (sea creature) banner and snake lasso; the second pair a bow and arrow tightly drawn. The lower body is a coiled snake. At the right side the wrathful protector Remati has one face and two hands holding a sword upraised and a skullcup held to the heart; riding atop a mule.

At the bottom right is a wrathful protector with one face and two hands holding upraised a monk's staff in the right and a begging bowl to the heart with the left. Adorned with earrings, a monk's riding hat, long cloak and boots, he rides atop a snow lion. At the left sits the peaceful protector Yudronma (Turquoise Lamp), a female deity of Tibetan origin and leader of the 'Tenma Chunyi.' With one face, three eyes and two hands, she holds a large drum in the right hand and a stick in the left; seated in vajra posture atop a moon disc and lotus. The background landscape is populated with charnel ground scenes, a stupa and wild animals.

Jeff Watt 5-99

Related Items
Publication: Dojo Bumzang - Images

Thematic Sets
Mahakala: Maning (Eunuch) Main Page
Buddhist Protectors: Enlightened
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 6
Painting Type: Black Ground Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Mahakala Main Page
Mahakala (Nyingma)