Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

close_button
Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hevajra Mandala

Date:
15th century
Culture:
Tibet
Medium:
Distemper on cloth
Dimensions:
Image: 21 1/2 × 17 1/2 in. (54.6 × 44.5 cm) Framed: 28 1/2 × 24 1/2 in. (72.4 × 62.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Stephen and Sharon Davies Collection, 2015
Accession Number:
2015.551
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 251
Hevajra appears here in his three-headed and four-armed form. This manifestation is drawn from the Hevajra Tantra, a text revered by the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism, possibly the patrons of this painting. Hevajra and his consort Nairatmya dance at the intersection of four vajra gateways, indicating their position at the center of the cosmos. Hevajra’s name is composed of two syllables, “he,” compassion, representing the male aspect, and “Vajra,” wisdom, the female aspect, which together offer the path beyond the illusory world. The repeating skull symbolism references death and the impermanence of all phenomena. Beyond the celestial palace are the eight great charnel grounds, each presided over by a yogic master, or mahasiddha. On the reverse are inscriptions in an ornate Tibetan lantsa script of the Sanskrit mantra OH AH HUM and of mantra syllables configured in a stupa silhouette. This painting is likely the work of a Newari artist from Nepal working for a Tibetan patron.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Arts of Nepal and Tibet: Recent Gifts," January 16, 2016–January 15, 2017.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cosmic Buddhas in the Himalayas," June 24, 2017–December 10, 2017.

Related Objects

Portrait of Jnanatapa Attended by Lamas and Mahasiddhas

Date: ca. 1350 Medium: Distemper on cloth Accession: 1987.144 On view in:Not on view

Amoghasiddhi, the Buddha of the Northern Pure Land

Date: ca. 1200–50 Medium: Distemper on cloth Accession: 1991.74 On view in:Gallery 251

Amitabha, the Buddha of the Western Pure Land (Sukhavati)

Date: ca. 1700 Medium: Distemper with gold on cloth Accession: 2004.139 On view in:Gallery 251

Initiation Cards (Tsakalis)

Date: early 15th century Medium: Opaque watercolor on paper Accession: 2000.282.1–.25 On view in:Gallery 251

Panel from a Buddhist Ritual Crown Depicting Vairochana

Date: late 13th–early 14th century Medium: Distemper on wood Accession: 1997.152 On view in:Gallery 251