Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mandala of Jnanadakini

late 14th century
Distemper on cloth
Image: 29 1/2 x 33 in. (74.9 x 83.8 cm) with traditional textile mount: 54 1/8 x 36 1/4 in. (137.5 x 92.1 cm) Framed: 49 1/2 in. × 37 13/16 in. × 1 in. (125.7 × 96 × 2.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1987
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 253
The central six-armed goddess (devi), Jnanadakini, is surrounded by eight emanations—representations of the devi that correspond to the colors of the mandala’s four directional quadrants. Four additional protective goddesses sit within the gateways. Surrounding the mandala are concentric circles that contain lotus petals, vajras, flames, and the eight great burial grounds. Additional dakinis and lamas occupy roundels in the corners. The upper register depicts lamas and mahasiddhas representing the Sakya school’s spiritual lineage. The lower register depicts protective deities and a monk who performs a consecration ritual. This tangka was likely part of a set of forty-two mandalas relating to ritual texts collectively known as the Vajravali or Vajramala (Garland of Vajras). The refined detailing suggests that an itinerant Newari artist painted it in Tibet.
New York. Asia Society. "Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment," September 4, 1997–January 4, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sacred Visions: Early Paintings from Central Tibet," October 6, 1998–January 17, 1999.

Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "Sacred Visions: Early Paintings from Central Tibet," February 14, 1999–May 16, 1999.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art," October 5, 2003–January 4, 2004.

New York. Rubin Museum of Art. "Mandala," August 14, 2009–January 11, 2010.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Himalayas," December 15, 2010–December 4, 2011.

Atlanta. Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. "Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism," January 28, 2012–April 15, 2012.

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