Acala, The Buddhist Protector

Period: early Malla period

Date: 15th century

Culture: Nepal, Kathmandu Valley

Medium: Distemper and gold on cloth

Dimensions: Overall: 32 x 26 1/2 in. (81.3 x 67.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Perry J. Lewis, 1994

Accession Number: 1994.452


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.