Mandala of Jnanadakini

Date: late 14th century

Culture: Tibet

Medium: Distemper on cloth

Dimensions: Image: 29 1/2 x 33 in. (74.9 x 83.8 cm)
with traditional textile mount: 54 1/8 x 36 1/4 in. (137.5 x 92.1 cm)
Framed: 49 1/2 in. × 37 13/16 in. × 1 in. (125.7 × 96 × 2.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.16


The central six-armed goddess (devi), Jnanadakini, is surrounded by eight emanations—representations of the devi that correspond to the colors of the mandala’s four directional quadrants. Four additional protective goddesses sit within the gateways. Surrounding the mandala are concentric circles that contain lotus petals, vajras, flames, and the eight great burial grounds. Additional dakinis and lamas occupy roundels in the corners. The upper register depicts lamas and mahasiddhas representing the Sakya school’s spiritual lineage. The lower register depicts protective deities and a monk who performs a consecration ritual. This tangka was likely part of a set of forty-two mandalas relating to ritual texts collectively known as the Vajravali or Vajramala (Garland of Vajras). The refined detailing suggests that an itinerant Newari artist painted it in Tibet.