Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Acala, The Buddhist Protector

early Malla period
15th century
Nepal, Kathmandu Valley
Distemper and gold on cloth
Overall: 32 x 26 1/2 in. (81.3 x 67.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Perry J. Lewis, 1994
Accession Number:
Not on view
Acala (literally, “immovable”) is a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri. He wields a sword to dispatch ignorance and a noose to snare disbelievers. His enflamed wide eyes and a facial grimace exposing teeth express his fearsome aspect. He kneels with one knee on the ground, evoking his role as a protector of the earth. He is set in a flaming aureole, his knowledge field, and is honored with an elaborate archway (torana) topped by Garuda fighting two nagas. Numerous protective emanations surround him in a series of registers; in the lower register, a Vajracharya priest performs rituals for the benefit of the donor family seated opposite.
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