Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Offerings to Wrathful Deities

late 16th–17th century
Distemper and ink on cloth
66 15/16 x 43 11/16 in. (170 x 111 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Frances Gould-Naftal and Marvin Naftal, 1983
Accession Number:
Not on view
This black-ground (Tibetan: nag thang) painting was installed in the chapel (gonkhang) dedicated to the wrathful protective deities (dharmapalas), a room reserved for tantric initiation rites within a Tibetan monastery. The exceptional scale and complexity of the composition relate the painting to the offering-scene murals known as “sets of ornaments” (Tibetan: rgyan tshogs) that adorn the interiors of shrines dedicated to the dharmapalas. Two wrathful tantric deities are represented with flames emanating from their beings, standing on a male corpse atop a lotus pedestal. They are draped in flayed skins and garlands of severed human heads. Offerings of flayed skins, ritual utensils and objects, and a vast assortment of weapons fill the interior. Framing the scene above is a curtain of flayed human skins and organ entrails.
Frances Gould-Naftal and Marvin Naftal , Kearny, NJ (until 1983; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rugs and Ritual in Tibetan Buddhism," October 7, 2010–June 26, 2011.

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

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