Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Panjarnata (Lord of the Pavilion)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 90546)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1700 - 1799
Lineages Sakya
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line, Black Background on Cotton
Collection Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

TBRC: W25327

Interpretation / Description

Panjarnata Mahakala (Tibetan: gur gyi gon po dor je nag po chenpo, English: the Great Black One of the Pavilion), arising from the Hevajra cycle of Tantras. (See the Panjarnata Main Page and Outline Page).

Wrathful and black in appearance, squat and dwarfish, he has one face with three large white eyes, a red gaping mouth and yellow hair flowing upward like flame. Both hands are placed at the heart, the right holding a curved knife and the left a skullcup filled with blood. An ornate stick is held horizontally across the forearms. Adorned with a crown of five white skulls, gold earrings, necklaces, and the like, he wears a scarf across the shoulders and a lower garment of tiger skin. With the two feet atop a prone human form and multi-coloured lotus seat, he stands surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness fire. Three skullcups filled with offerings are placed in front.

At the top center is the buddha Akshobhya, to the left the buddha Vajradhara and Chakrasamvara in Heruka form. At the right side are various deities, Vajrabhairava Heruka and lama figures. Descending at the sides are various wrathful figures specific to the retinue of Panjarnata and general wrathful protector deities of the Sakya School; Ekajati, Chaturmukha, Magzor Gyalmo, Vaishravana and the like. Along the bottom are the five main attendants - the inner retinue - of Panjarnata, Kala Rakshasa, Kali Rakshasi and the three siblings.

Panjarnata is the principal protector of the Sakya School and arises from an exclusive Hevajra commentary tantra - the Vajrapanjara. He is the most wrathful form of the primordial buddha Vajradhara and the protector form of Shri Hevajra. The style of painting is called 'nag tang' - black scroll. Executed with fine gold lines, more or less colouring is used at the discretion and ability of the artist.

Jeff Watt 6-99

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