Himalayan Art Resources

Painting Set: Vajravali Mandalas (Sadhanamala Registers)

Vajravali Mandalas (Sadhanamala Registers) | Vajravali Main Page

These compositions belong to a twenty-seven or more painting set depicting the principal mandalas of the Vajravali according to Abhayakara Gupta. There are eleven figures each in the top and bottom registers. In three of the paintings the figures belong to a line of lineage teachers. In the Bhutadamara painting the figures are selected from the Sadhanamala/sadhansamucchaya. Another five or six paintings from the same set must also have had the remaining 145 figures depicted in the upper and lower registers.

The Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja (HAR #88557) looks remarkably similar to the other paintings of this Vajravali set. However the composition does not follow precisely. The over-all look betrays the same artist's hand as the other four paintings. There is also a very strong similarity in the colour palette. Aside from the similarities there are strong compositional differences. The Guhyasamaja has thirteen figures in the upper and lower registers along with two extra roundels in the intermediate directions. It is possible that there are slightly mismatched compositions in the over-all set and the Guhyasamaja does belong with the others exhibited here. Or, the Guhyasamaja might belong to another set of Vajravali paintings also executed by the same artist.

Jeff Watt 7-2013