Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mandala of Kalachakra (Buddhist Deity)

དུས་འཁོར། ནང་ལྷ། 时轮(佛教)
(item no. 87220)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Gelug
Size 120.40x78.40cm (47.40x30.87in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Catalogue # acc.# 58.691, Frederick L. Jack Fund
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Interpretation / Description

Shri Kalachakra Mandala (Tibetan: pal du kyi kor lo kyil kor. English: the Mandala of the Glorious Wheel of Time): surrounded by lineage teachers above and deities of the mandala below. At the bottom center is the protector Vajra Vega.

Sanskrit: Kalachakra Tibetan: Du kyi kor lo

At the top left is the circular mandala of Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja. At the to right is the circular mandala of Vajrabhairava. At the bottom right is the circular mandala of Krishna Yamari, wrathful, blue in colour, with three faces and six arms. At the bottom left is the circular mandala of Rakta Yamari, wrathful, red in colour, with one face and two arms.

Along the top of the composition are the twenty-five Vidyadaras of the Shambhala Pureland. At the very top center is Heruka Kalachakra with one face and two hands embracing the yellow consort Vishvamata. Below that is Tsongkapa, founder of the Gelug Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

At the bottom right corner is Panjarnata Mahakala, Shri Devi, Vaishravana Riding a Lion and Yama Dharmaraja.

Jeff Watt 4-2001 [updated 8-2009]

Numbered List:

1. Kalachakra & Vishvamata Mandala
2. Lama Tsongkapa
3. Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja Mandala
4. Vajrabhairava Mandala
5. Rakta Yamari Mandala
6. Krishna Yamari Mandala
7. Vajra Vega (Dorje Shug)
8. Donor Figures

"...Shri Kalachakra shining forth with stainless light rays of five [colours], with a body blue in colour. Having three necks the central is blue, right red and left white. The main face is black and fierce with bared teeth. The right face is red and desirous. The back face is yellow and in samadhi. The left face is white and very peaceful. Each face has three eyes.

The hair is tied in a tuft [along with] a vishvavajra, crescent moon, and Vajrasattva as a crown, a vajra jewel, vajra earrings, vajra necklace, vajra bracelets, vajra belt, vajra anklets, vajra scarf, vajra mala, and a loose tiger skin skirt.

The first [two] shoulders on the right and left are blue, second red, third white, for a [total] of six [pairs] of shoulders, twelve upper arms and twenty-four hands. The first four [right and left] are black, second four red, third four white. The thumbs of all the hands are yellow, index finger white, middle finger red, ring finger black, and little finger green. The first knuckle is black, second red, third white. All of the fingers are beautiful and radiant.

The first four black right hands hold a vajra, sword, trident and curved knife. The four red [hold] a flaming arrow, vajra hook, a rattling damaru and hammer. The four white [hands hold] a wheel, spear, stick and a battle axe.

The first four black left [hands] hold a vajra bell, shield, katvanga and a skullcup filled with blood. The four red [hold] a bow, vajra lasso, jewel and a white lotus. The four white [hold] a conch, mirror, vajra chain and the four-faced head of Brahma adorned with lotus [flowers].

Above a moon, sun and rahu, standing in a very playful manner, the right red leg is extended atop red Kamadeva having one face and four hands, holding five flower arrows, a bow, lasso and a hook. Under the left white leg is Rudra, white with one face, three eyes and four arms, holding a trident, damaru drum, skullcup and a katvanga. The demon [consorts] Rati and Uma in a woeful [manner] hold the soles [of Kalachakra's feet].

Vishvamata, yellow in colour, embraces [Kalachakra] from the front. The faces, from the right are yellow, white, blue and red, each with three eyes. There are eight arms. The [first] right hands hold a curved knife, hook, a rattling damaru and bead mala. The left [hands hold] a skullcup, lasso, white lotus with eight petals and a jewel. Vajrasattva [appears] as a crown. Adorned with the five mudras. The left leg is extended - standing together with the Bhagavan." (Buton Tamche Kyenpa Rinchen Drub, 1290-1364. dus 'khor sgrub thabs bsdus pa rin po che'i snying po. gsung 'bum rin chen grub [zhol par khang] Volume 5, Pages 163-176. [TBRC W1934])

Jeff Watt [updated 6-2019]

Secondary Images
Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Mandala, The Perfect Circle (RMA)

Thematic Sets
Collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra (Mandala Masterworks)
Mandala: Mandala Main Page
Tradition: Gelug Mandala Masterworks
Tradition: Gelug Deity Paintings
Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra Mandala (Masterworks)
Tradition: Gelug Mandalas
Mandalas: Gelug Tradition
Collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Masterworks)
Collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Mandalas)
Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra Mandala