Mahakala

2011em6873 jpg l

View the V&A API .json response

Acquired in 1964 (the spelunker thinks)

artist
Unknown
attributions_note
bibliography
PUBLISHED J.Lowry, 1973, no.15
collection_code
SSEA
credit
Given by Harold Wakelam
date_end
1800-12-31
date_start
1650-01-01
date_text
1650-1800 (made)
descriptive_line
Mahakala, painted clay, flour-paste and human bone ash, Tibet, 1650-1800
dimensions
Height: 37.7 cm, Width: 31 cm
edition_number
event_text
exhibition_history
gallery
South-East Asia, room 47a
historical_context_note
Mahakala is a Buddhist adaptation of Siva in his vengeful (ugra) manifestation. In the Buddhist context Mahakala serves as defender of the faith (dharmapala) and is particularly revered in this role by followers of the dGe-lugs-pa ("Yellow Cap") sect. clay was widely used for images in Tibetan temples but examples are rarely seen outside Tibet because of their fragility.
historical_significance
history_note
This object was acquired in Mukden (Manchuria) about 1920-25. During the repair of damage it was discovered that prayer rolls printed on paper and wrapped in coloured silk damasks had been embedded in the image; the prayers were written in Tibetan characters but in the Sanskrit language.
id
24912
label
last_checked
2014-08-29T21:02:46.000Z
last_processed
2014-08-29T21:02:46.000Z
latitude
31.623875
location
South-East Asia, room 47a, case 13
longitude
-81.608429
marks
materials
Clay, bone-ash
materials_techniques
Painted clay, flour paste and human bone-ash
museum_number
IS.178-1964
museum_number_token
is1781964
object_number
O24883
object_type
Figure
on_display
1
original_currency
original_price
physical_description
place
Tibet
primary_image_id
2011EM6873
production_note
production_type
public_access_description
This is a painted clay image of the six-armed Mahakala, a wrathful protector of the Buddhist religion (or Idharmapala). This form is particularly revered by the Gelukpa (or dGe lugs pa) order. Clay was, and still is, widely used for images in Tibet, but the fragility of such images means that they are rarely seen outside the country. The inclusion of human bone ash may suggest that this was a commemorative image made partly as a shrine incorporating the remains of a revered religious figure. The anger of Mahakala, shown in the surounding aureole of flames, roaring mouth and bulging eyes, is directed at the enemies of the Buddhist religion. His attributes, including the crown of skulls, garland of severed heads and chopper and skull cup (held by the two inner hands), all represent the means of destroying and transforming inner or outer obstacles to enlightened awareness.
related_museum_numbers
rights
3
shape
site_code
VA
slug
mahakala-figure-unknown
sys_updated
2013-08-17T00:00:00.000Z
techniques
Painted, modelled
title
Mahakala
updated
vanda_exhibition_history
year_end
1800
year_start
1650