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. 24087)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shadbhuja Mahakala (Tibetan: pal nyur dze ye she kyi gon po chag drug pa. English: the Swift Acting Lord of Pristine Awareness with Six Hands). The wrathful manifestation of the deity Avalokiteshvara after having taken on the form of Mahakala - the principal protector of the Shangpa Kagyu and Gelugpa Schools.

"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
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Collection: Christies New York (Painting. March, 2016)
Mahakala: Shadbhuja [Shangpa] Page (Six-hands)