|Date Range||1400 - 1499|
|Lineages||Sakya and Buddhist|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton|
|Collection||Rubin Museum of Art|
|Catalogue #||acc. #C2002.34.4|
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 bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara after having taken on the form of Mahakala - the principal protector of the Shangpa Kagyu and Gelugpa Schools. Five attendant deities surround the central figure.
Fearsome and wrathful, blue-black in colour with one face and six hands, held in the first pair is a curved knife and skullcup to the heart. In the second pair is a human skull garland and trident - holding upraised the legs of an elephant skin garment. Held in the lower pair is a damaru (drum) and lasso. Adorned with all the wrathful ornaments and vestments he stands on the prone form of the elephant headed god Ganesh, above a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus, surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness.
"...above a lotus, sun and [and a prone] Ganapati...is the Lord of Wisdom, with a body blue/black in colour, one face and three eyes. With six arms the three right hold a curved knife, skull mala and drum. The three left [hold] a skullcup, trident and lasso. With five dry human heads [as a crown], adorned with fifty wet [heads] as a necklace, human bones and snakes. Having a drop of sindura on the forehead and Akshobhya Buddha seated as a crown. With an elephant skin as an upper garment and wearing a tiger skin as a lower garment, standing with the right leg bent and left leg straight in the middle of a blazing fire of pristine awareness. At the left side is Devi Remati riding a mule, holding a sword in the right [hand] and a blood filled skullcup in the left. In front is Kshetrapala riding a bear, holding a curved knife and a blood filled skullcup. On the right is Jinamitra, standing above a lotus and sun, holding a drum and blood filled skullcup. Behind is Takkiraja, standing above and lotus and sun, holding a drum and [performing] a wrathful gesture. To the left of Devi is Raudrantika, black, riding a horse, holding a spear and blood filled skullcup." (Changkya Rolpai Dorje, 1717-1786 [TBRC P182]).
Central Figure: Shadbhuja Mahakala
2. Shri Devi
6. Deity (?)
7. Chaturbhuja Avalokiteshvara
8. Tibetan Lama
9. Tibetan Lama
30. Sita Shadbhuja Mahakala
31. Shadbhuja Mahakala (Sangdrub Chingka)
47. Yellow Jambhala
48. Yellow Vasudhara
49. Black Jambhala
50. Vaishravana Riding a Lion
51. Donor Figure
Jeff Watt 5-2003