Nila-Acala or "Blue Acala" - the "Immovable One"
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Orientation 3
Display 5

ABS 113

 Code: ABS 113

  Country: Tibet

  Style:

  Date: 1200 - 1300

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 15.4 x 25.7 x 7.2

  Materials: Fine-grained beige stone with painted decoration

Fine-grained beige stone (possibly phyllite) painted with colours. 

This statue depicts a form of Acala and represents an example of a stone-sculpture made by a Newar artist for a Tibetan patron during the 13th century. Following the destruction of Buddhism in India at the end of the 12th century, it was the Newar artists who became the dominant foreign craftsman in Tibet and also in China.
 
The fearful three-eyed form of Acala (Tib. Mi gyo ba), resting on his right knee and left foot, is supported by a double lotus pedestal with an upper beaded border. Acala holds in the right uplifted hand his principal attribute the sword (khadga) as symbol of “cutting through ignorance”. He holds with the left hand, displayed in the gesture of exorcism (karana mudra) with the index finger and small finger erect, the noose (pasa), an attribute of mainly wrathful deities to catch the enemies of Buddhism. Acala is dressed with a cloth tied around the waist. He is decorated with jewelled ornaments, namely with a three fold crown in front of the helmet, a pair of circular earrings, a broad necklace with attached pendants, and ornaments at the upper arms, wrists, ankles and feet, and the “investiture with the sacred thread” (upavita). Acala wears over the shoulders a ribbon-like scarf with swirling ends hanging down at both sides. The image is encircled by an open worked  flaming aureole.
 
The name Acala means “mountain” or literally “immobile”, and he is always shown in fearsome attitude and represents one of the ten Khroda protector deities in various Mandalas.
 
The Sadhanamala (SM), Nispannayogavali (NSP), Kryasamgraha (KSand the Pindikrama-Sadhana (PKScontain descriptions of several forms of Acala (Tib. Mi gyo ba): SM 86–87, 211–12; NSP 1–3, 11, 20, 26; KS 2; PKS 175–78. Acala is known in the Sanskrit literature under various different names such as CandacalaCandamaharosana, Mahacandarosana (SM 85–88)Kekara (SM 212) or Vajrabhisana (NSP 11, KS 2). In this publication all standing forms of Acala, regardless whether trampling on Ganesa or not are classified as Nila Acala (“Blue Acala”) (Tib. Mi gyo ba sngon po). The kneeling forms of Acala are classified as Sita Acala or “white Acala” (Tib. Mi gyo ba dkar po). Both forms can have two or three eyes. 
 
Acala 
Also known as Acalanatha, Aryacalanatha, Acala-vidya-raja and Candamaharosana. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Acala (alternatively, Achala or Acala) is the best known of the Five Wisdom Kings of the Womb Realm. Acala means "The Immovable One" in Sanskrit. Acala is also the name of the eighth of the ten stages of the path to buddhahood.
 
Acala is the destroyer of delusion and the protector of Buddhism. His immovability refers to his ability to remain unmoved by carnal temptations. Despite his fearsome appearance, his role is to aid all beings by showing them the teachings of the Buddha, leading them into self-control.
He is seen as a protector and aide in attaining goals. Temples dedicated to Acala perform a periodic fire ritual in devotion to him.
 
The buddha Akshobhya, whose name also means “the immovable one”, is sometimes merged with Acala. However, Acala is not a buddha, but one of the Five Wisdom Kings of the Womb Realm in Vajrayana as found in the Indo-Tibetan tradition, as well as the Japanese Shingon sect of Buddhism. As 'Fudo myo-o', Acala is considered one of the Thirteen Buddhas in Japan
 
Iconography
Acala is typically depicted with a sword for subduing demons in his right hand and a rope for catching and binding them in his left hand. He has a fearsome blue visage and is surrounded by flames, representing the purification of the mind.  He is often depicted seated or standing on a rock to show his immovability.  His hair commonly has seven knots and is draped on his left side, a servant hairstyle in Buddhist iconography. He is frequently depicted with two protruding fangs. One tooth points down, representing his compassion to the world, and one tooth points up, representing his passion for truth.

Chandra, Lokesh, 1991. Buddhist Iconography of Tibet (CBIT). New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture & Aditya Prakashan. Nos. 13, 187, 202, 322, 682-687, 775, 934-935, 2377 (174), 2422 (219) - References to the iconography of Acala

Cornu, Philippe , 2001. Dictionnaire Encyclopédique du Bouddhisme. Seuil. P. 33-34

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1963. “Notes d’iconographie tântrique: III. A propos du Fudô bleu [Acala]”, Arts Asiatiques. Tome IX, Fasc. 1–2. EFEO, Musée Guimet. Pp. 73-79, fig 1 - References to the iconography of Acala

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1964. Étude iconographique sur Manjusri. Paris: École Française d’Extrème-Orient. Pp. 16, 30, 32, 70-71, 111-112, 128-32 - References to the iconography of Acala

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1975. Introduction à l'iconographie du tântrisme bouddhique. Paris: Adrien Mainsonneuve (Jean Maisonneuve successeur (1970). Pp. 83-85 - References to the iconography of Acala

Frédéric, Louis, 1992. Les Dieux du Bouddhisme. Guide iconographique . Paris: Flammarion. P. 201 sq. - Sur l'iconographie d'Acala

Rambach, Pierre, 1978. Le Bouddha secret du tantrisme japonais. Genève: Skira . Sur l'iconographie d'Acala

von Schroeder, Ulrich, 2001. Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet. Vol. One: India & Nepal; Vol. Two: Tibet & China. Hong Kong: Visual Dharma Publications, Ltd.. Pp. 1038-1039, 1112-1113; Pls. 259, 291 - Compare with other images of Acala

von Schroeder, Ulrich, 2010. Buddhist Sculptures of the Alain Bordier Foundation. Hong Kong: Visual Dharma Publications, Ltd.. Pp. 48–49; plate 21A