Six-armed Mahakala known as Sadbhuja Mahakala
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Orientation 3
Display 5

ABS 169

 Code: ABS 169

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1450 - 1550

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 9.2 x 8.5 x 5.7

  Materials: Grey stone

Six-armed Mahakala known as Sadbhuja Mahakala 

This image is carved in stone, probably phyllite. Traces of gold and red pigment are visible. Mahakala is a protector of Buddha’s teachings (dharmapala) in Vajrayana Buddhism. As his name expresses it, Mahakalais typically black in color. Just as all colors are absorbed and dissolved into black, all concepts and forms are said to melt into Mahakala, symbolizing his all-embracing, comprehensive nature. Black can also represent the total absence of color, and again this expresses the nature of Mahakala as the ultimate or absolute reality. This principle is known in Sanskrit as "nirguna", beyond all quality and form, and both interpretations express it.
Mahakala is almost always depicted wearing a crown of five skulls, which represents the transmutation of the five afflictions (kleshas) into the five wisdoms.

Mahakala tramples on Ganesha lying on a single lotus pedestal. In the upper right hand, he holds a skull garland (mundamala), and with both upper hands simultaneously an elephant skin (gajacarma). The principal hands hold a ritual chopper (kartrika) and a skull-cup (kapala); the lower right a double drum (damaru) and the lower left a noose (pasha)