The Wrathful Protector Mahakala, Tantric Protective Form of Avalokiteshvara


Not on view

The ferocious aspect of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Mahakala is shown in a flaming aureole, his six hands holding his horrific ritual implements. Attending Mahakala are four yaksha “ministers” in red and blue, and below they ride a bear and a horse and flank the protector goddess Palden Lhamo on her donkey. The celestial Buddha Amitabha presides, flanked by mahasiddhas and Gelugpa patriarchs. Tangkas at this scale often replaced damaged wall paintings. The inscription on the reverse reads in part: “The Great Protector, Mahakala, the fierce god who is inseparable from my Lama [to whom] I present this tangka of the Great Protector, whose true spirit is ever present in the precious painting. . . . . May you the Great Protector always be near us and help us to follow the path to righteousness.”

The Wrathful Protector Mahakala, Tantric Protective Form of Avalokiteshvara, Distemper on cloth, Tibet

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