Chaturbhuja Mahakala – The "Four-armed Great Black One"
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ABP 012

 Code: ABP 012

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1600 - 1700

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 47 x 69

  Materials: Gouache on cotton

Chaturbhuja Mahakala – The "Four-armed Great Black One"

Corpulent and menacing, the protector Mahakala, the Great Black One, is sitting on the recumbent body of defeated enemies. The first pair of hands hold a black fruit and a skull cup, while he wields a sword and a trident with the second pair of hands. Of dark blue colour, his face bears the expression of awakened wrath: his mouth is wide open, his eyes are bulging and his hair is standing on end. His naked body is clad only in a loincloth of tiger skin. He wears the bone ornaments of the charnel grounds. As a dynamic manifestation of compassion, this protector defends the teachings of the Buddha and Buddhist practitioners against all kinds of external and internal obstacles.

Represented in a natural landscape, Mahakala sits right under Chakrasamvara in union, his tutelary deity. Placed above him in the sky are also four human masters facing each other, all in monastic religious dress, wearing hats, and displaying specific gestures. The inscriptions identify them as masters of the Jonang lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The lower range gathers wrathful offerings in the centre surrounded by four manifestations of Jambhala, from left to right the yellow, black, white, and red manifestations of the God of Wealth.