Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra (Mandala Copy)

Kalachakra (Mandala Copy) | Kalachakra Main Page

Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1456 [P1132]) commissioned a set of Vajravali mandala paintings after the construction of Ngor Monastery was completed (circa 1430). This set of paintings was kept at Ngor Monastery until the mid 20th century. A direct student of Ngorchen, Gorampa Sonam Sengge (1429-1489 [P1042]) commissioned another set of Vajravali paintings.

The artists for the Ngorchen composition are known and documented in Ngorchen's biography and the history books of Ngor Monastery. The artists were Newar from Kathmandu Valley. At this time the artists of the Gorampa composition are not known. It is possible that they also were Newar, but it is also possible that they were Tibetan artists.

Comparing the two paintings, the Gorampa composition is almost an exact copy of the Ngorchen painting. The central subject is identical along with the top and bottom registers. The deities and teacher figures in the vertical right and left are also identical. Variations can be scene in the Gorampa painting in the decoration, ornamentation and colour palette. Most noticeable are the addition of the small white stupas dividing the figures in the upper and lower registers of the Gorampa composition. Leafy green vines frame each of the stupas. All of the register and surrounding figures are inscribed with a name written in Tibetan script. Another painting of the Kalachakra Mandala HAR 99170 is striking in its similarity to the Ngorchen and Gorampa compositions.

At the bottom right corner of both compositions is the donor figure appearing in monastic attire. For the Ngorchen composition the inscription reads 'Ananda' the Sanskrit word for the Tibetan translated word 'Kunga.' For the Gorampa composition the inscription reads 'Sonam Sengge.'

It is most probable that the creation of the two sets of paintings were separated in time by twenty to thirty years based on the active dates of the two teachers, Ngorchen and Gorampa.

Related Subjects:
- Kalachakra Mandalas
- Kalachakra Mandala Masterworks
- Mandala Main Page
- Vajravali Mandala Paintings
- Abhayakara Gupta
- Others...

Jeff Watt 12-2018