Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Shanglon (Minister)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 320)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Size 73.66x53.34cm (29x21in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.20.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Guhyanata Mahakala, Shanglon (English: Minister, Secret Lord Great Black One. Tibetan: nagpo chenpo, sang wai gonpo). Shanglon Dorje Dudul is a special protector for the Yutog Nyingtig cycle of 'Treasure' teachings and associated with the Four Medical Tantras. He has three principal forms, outer, inner and secret. This painting depicts the mandala of the secret form of Shanglon Dorje Dudul including the retinue figures of all three forms of Shanglon in two concentric circles. A further group of eight figures in the outermost circle are the retinue to yet another form of Shanglon, riding a horse, where he is the protector of the Yutog Nyingtig Treasure Tradition (see Outline Page), also associated with the Four Medical Tantras and the Tibetan physician Yutog Yontan Gonpo.

"...with a body blue-black in colour, three faces, black, white and red, bared fangs and hair flowing upward. With six hands the right three hold a trident, club and sword; the left three a skullcup, lasso and hook. [He] stands with the right leg extended pressing down on enemies and hindrances, dressed in an upper cloak of black silk, wearing felt boots, a jeweled crown, gold belt, together with a necklace of human heads, adorned with various ornaments, standing in a playful manner in the middle of a blazing heap of fire." (Jonang Taranata Collected Works, volume 15, page 728).

In the first circle immediately surrounding Shanglon, located in the four directions, are the principle retinue figures of the Secret form. Between the cardinal directions are four goddesses. In the outer circle, located in the four directions, are the four retinue figures specific to the Outer form of Shanglon. Between these four are four sets of paired deities which belong to the Yutog Nyingtig Treasure Tradition form of the protector Shanglon.

In the upper composition of the painting are the lineage figures in a direct teacher student line from Shakyamuni Buddha down to the time of the Nyingmapa teacher Terdag Lingpa Gyurme Dorje (1646-1714), the founder of Mindroling monastery. The remaining two teachers portrayed in the lineage are the 5th Dalai Lama (1617-1682) and Lobzang Chodag [P1791] (1638-1710) the doctor of the Dalai Lama. Lobzang Chodag is depicted on the viewer's right, seated in a mandala surrounded by four goddesses, in the iconographic appearance of Yutog Yonten Gonpo.

Jeff Watt 3-2004 (updated 9-2007)

Front of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: There is a ring of gold inscriptions encircling the inner mandala of figures.

Reverse of Painting
English Translation of Inscription: Name inscriptions accompany each of the figures depicted on the front.

Wylie Transliteration of Inscription: gsang ba'i mgon.

Special Features: (Printed script (Uchen))

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of RMA: Iconographically Rare Works
Mandala: Main Page
Collection of RMA: Historically Important Works
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Tradition: Nyingma Deity Paintings
Mahakala: Shanglon Dorje Dudul Main Page
Buddhist Protector: Mahakala Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum (Interesting Mandalas)
Mandalas: Nyingma Tradition
Buddhist Protector: Shanglon, Secret
Tradition: Mindrolling (Nyingma)
Subject: Yutog Nyingtig Terma Cycle
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mandala