Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Shadbhuja (Shangpa)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 65729)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Gelug and Buddhist
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Mahakala, Shadbhuja (Tibetan: pal ye she gyi gon po nyur du dze pa chag drug pa, English: the Swift Acting Lord of Pristine Awareness with Six Hands): emanation of Avalokiteshvara and a special practice of the Shangpa Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. (See the Shadbhuja Main Page and the Shadbhuja Outline).

Video: Three Mahakala Masterworks

"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).

Lineage: Vajradhara, Jnana Dakini, shri Shavaripa, lord Maitripa, mahasiddha Rahulagupta, Khedrup Khyungpo Naljor (founder of the Shangpa Kagyu School, 11th century), Nyam Med Rinchen Tsondru, Bonton Kyergangpa (famous terton of the Hayagriva cycle of practice), etc.

Jeff Watt 7-2013

Secondary Images
Related Items
HAR: Jeff Watt - Profile
Publication: Selection of Works - Sculpture (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Region: Mongolia, School of Zanabazar (Masterworks)
Mahakala: Shadbhuja (Sculpture Masterworks)
Sculpture: Zanabazar Style (Protectors)
Mahakala: Shadbhuja Confusions (Ten Topics, Shangpa)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Mongolia
Mahakala: Shadbhuja [Shangpa] Page (Six-hands)
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection (Sculpture)
RMA: How or Why an Object was Acquired
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Zanabazar Style & Atelier
Sculpture: Zanabazar Style (Wrathful Appearance)
Mahakala: Shadbhuja [Shangpa] Religious Context
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Sculpture (Gallery 2)
Collection of RMA: Best of Collection 1
Buddhist Protector: Mahakala, Shadbhuja (Sculpture)
Collection of RMA: Selected Sculpture
Sculpture: Zanabazar Style (Mongolia)