Mahakala Panjarnatha – "Protector of the pavilion"
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Orientation 2
Display 3

ABS 048

 Code: ABS 048

  Country: Tibet (central)


  Date: 1400 - 1500

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 13.7 x 22 x 8.1

  Materials: Brass; inlaid with silver and copper

Mahakala, the great black one, guardian of the faith 

Mahakala is one of the eight great protectors of the Buddha's teachings. He is usually depicted in the centre of a charnel ground, cowering over the bodies of defeated enemies of the Buddhist teachings. He is depicted under 72 different aspects. This male deity with black skin holds a flaying knife and a skull cup filled with blood. Mahakala has three eyes (symbolizing the knowledge of past, present and future), and wears a crown with five skulls. These represent the five poisons (greed, hatred, ignorance, envy and pride) which are transformed into five qualities of wisdom. He wears a garland with freshly cut heads, ornaments made of bones and snakes, which stand for the victory over hatred.