Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Chaturbhuja (Four-hands)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 648)
Origin Location Bhutan
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1998.14.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Summary: This form of Mahakala can be either a protector deity (dharmapala) or a meditational deity (ishtadevata).

Interpretation / Description

Chaturbhuja Vajra Nata Mahakala (Tibetan: gon po chag shi pa, dor je nag po chen po. English: The Great Black Vajra Lord with Four Hands) embracing the consort.

Sanskrit: Chaturbhuja Tibetan: Chag shi pa

At the top center is the Buddha Shakyamuni with Padmasambhava on the left and the tutelary deity Heruka Chakrasamvara on the right. At the middle left is a lama wearing monastic robes and a pandita hat; below that the Raven-Headed Mahakala (Tib.: gon po cha rog dong chen). At the right is Shabdrung Ngagwang Namgyal with the wrathful female protectress Shri Devi (Tib.: pal den Lha mo) riding a bay mule below. At the lower center is Vaishravana, the Direction King of the North with the mountain goddess Tseringma directly below. Various mountain deities indigenous to Bhutan surround both figures. A wrathful wealth deity, Machig Pel Lhamo, decorates the painted brocade-like frame.

Jeff Watt 4-2000

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Thematic Sets
Textile: Brocade Mounts (Examples)
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Mahakala: Chaturbhuja, Four-hands (Betapala)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Bhutan
Mahakala: Chaturbhuja, Four-hands Main Page
Region: Bhutan, Protectors
Mahakala (Kagyu)
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Mahakala - Chaturbhuja (with Consort)