Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Mahakala (Buddhist Protector) - Legden (Excellent One)

མ་ཧཱ་ཀཱ་ལ། ནག་པོ་ཆེན་པོ། 玛哈嘎拉
(item no. 90708)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Nyingma and Buddhist
Size 20.96x17.15cm (8.25x6.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Tibet House, New York
Catalogue # Gift of Shelley & Donald Rubin
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Wrathful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Mahakala (Tibetan: nag po chen po, dor je leg den, English: the Great Black One, Vajra Goodness). The protector of Tantric Buddhism.

Wrathful, blue-black in colour, with one face, three eyes, a gaping mouth and yellow hair flowing upward, he has two hands holding a brown sandalwood 'ghandi' stick, pressed to the ground. Adorned with a crown of five skulls, earrings, necklaces and the like, he wears variously coloured garments and blue boots. Atop two corpses, a sun disc and pink lotus seat, he stands surrounded by the brightly burning orange and red flames of pristine awareness.

At the bottom left is a red 'tsen' daemon with one face and two hands, dressed as a warrior, riding a red horse in a lake of blood. At the right is a 'gyalpo' (king) daemon, blue in colour, with one face and two hands, wearing a monk's riding hat, seated atop a blue mule.

Jeff Watt 2-2000

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