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Kurukulla Dancing in Her Mountain Grotto: Folio from a Manuscript of the Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom)

Period:
Pala period
Date:
early 12th century
Culture:
India, West Bengal or Bangladesh
Medium:
Opaque watercolor on palm leaf
Dimensions:
Page: 2 3/4 x 16 7/16 in. (7 x 41.8 cm) Image: 2 1/2 x 1 15/16 in. (6.4 x 4.9 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2001
Accession Number:
2001.445c
Rights and Reproduction:
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Description

    Emphasizing her role as destroyer of corruption, the goddess Kurukulla is surrounded by a halo of flame and dances on a corpse. Like so many of the aggressive deities that emerged in the esoteric tradition, Kurukulla is understood to be an emanation of one of the Tathagatas—in this case, the calm celestial Buddha Amitabha, who presides over the western Pure Land. Such dualistic female-male or aggressive-pacific relationships typify how the emerging Vajrayana Buddhist pantheon gave visual form to the breadth of the tradition’s ideological discourse and practice. These tiny paintings were executed by an artist of great skill and are among the greatest palm-leaf manuscript illustrations that survive from the Indian subcontinent.

  • See also
    What
    Where
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
74903:1

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