Pancharaksha Mandala – The "Five Protector Goddesses"
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Wall object 8

ABP 001

 Code: ABP 001

  Country: Tibet (south)


  Date: 1400 - 1500

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 45 x 52

  Materials: Glue distemper on cotton

Mandala of the Pañcarakṣā – the "Five Protectresses" especially popular with the Sakya tradition

The Pañcarakṣā or “Five Protectresses” consist of Mahamantranusarini  – “Conforming to Mantra”, Mahamayuri  – “Great Peacock Lady”; Mahapratisara – “Great Follower”, Mahasahasrapramardani  – “Destroyer of Thousandfold Worldsystems”, and Mahasitavati  – “Lady of Cool Grove”.

This painting represents the maṇḍala or divine abode of the Pañcharaksha or “Five Protectresses.” Personification of five protective formulas (Skt. dhāraṇī), they are very popular in the Kathmandu valley. Their cult also transpired to Tibet where they met with success, especially in the Sakya school. At the center is the white eight-armed Mahāpratisarā protecting against sin, disease and evils. To the east is dark blue eight-armed Mahāsahasrapramardinī, protecting against evil spirits. To the south is yellow eight-armed Mahāmāyūrī protecting against snake-poison. To the west is red twelve-armed Mahāmantrānusāriṇī protecting against diseases. To the north is dark green six-armed Mahāśītavatī protecting against disasters, wild animals and poisonous insects.

The top register illustrates the transmission lineage starting with Shakyamuni Buddha and bodhisattva Vajrapaṇi followed by Indian and Tibetan masters of the Sakya school. The bottom register contains, from left to right, three monks, eight offering goddesses, a yellow and a black Jambhala with a golden Vasudhārā – a triad of Wealth deities– and a Tibetan master, possibly the commissioner of the painting.

The outer rim of the maṇḍala presents the four Guardian Kings along with the seven emblems of the universal monarch and the wish fulfilling cow. Although a Tibetan painting, the deep, full colours associated with the vegetal scrolls patterns, geometric registers and overall style denotes a strong connection with the Newari productions from Nepal.

Bock, Etienne; Falcombello, Jean-Marc; Jenny Magali, 2022. Trésors du Tibet. Sur les pas de Milarépa.. Paris: Flammarion. p. 103

Chandra, Lokesh, 1988. Thangka-Kalendar - August: Vajratara-Mandala. Edition Schangrila. August: Vajratara-Mandala

von Schroeder, Ulrich and von Schroeder, Heidi, 2009. Tibetan Art of the Alain Bordier Foundation. Hong Kong: Visual Dharma Publications. Pp. 40–41; plate 14