|Date Range||1500 - 1599|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton|
|Collection||Rubin Museum of Art|
|Catalogue #||acc.# P2000.12.1|
Summary: This form of Mahakala can be either a protector deity (dharmapala) or a meditational deity (ishtadevata).
Chaturbhuja Mahakala (Tibetan: gon po chag shi pa. English: the Great Lord with Four Hands): wrathful enlightened protector of Buddhism.
"From a red-black mandala of fire, above a lotus, sun, moon and corpse, with one face and four hands, seated in a relaxed posture: homage to the Great Black One." (Nyingma liturgical verse).
As a wrathful form of enlightenment, a wisdom deity and buddha, he appears as a protector for Vajrayana Buddhism. There are many forms of this particular Mahakala in both Nyingma and Sarma traditions. The pandita and mahasiddha Nagarjuna originally popularized the practice. In the Sarma Schools Chaturbhuja is strongly related to the Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras.
Jeff Watt 11-2000