Thangka of Mahakala - Legden (Excellent One) - ROM2005_1593_24

ROM2005_1593_24

Thangka of Mahakala - Legden (Excellent One)

Maker: Unknown maker
Medium:Cotton cloth, pigment
Geography: Tibet
Date: 15th century AD
Dimensions:
Ht. 181 x 165.5 cm
Object number: 921.1.1
Credit Line: The George Crofts Collection
Not on view
Description

Pictured here is one of the paintings depicting the Wrathful Protector Legden, and is associated with the Nyingma and Shiche/Chod schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He stands in a cloud of smoke, with his hair and beard made of flames. In one hand Legden carries a cup made out of a human skull, while in the other, he holds a flaying knife to represent his ability to cut away ignorance. Around him, a rare mandala of nearly one hundred other figures are assembled in 13 rows. Inspite of this frightful imagery, Legden represents the fierce compassion required in meditation for practitioners to reach enlightenment. 

The top register, Lineage Teachers, read from left to right and begins with Vajradhara Buddha. At the top center is Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal. At the far right is a female figure and most likely Machig Labdron. Second register, meditational deities, beginning with Manjushri, Lokeshvara, Vajrapani, Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, Vajrabhairava, unidentified, Black Hayagriva, Vajra Vidarana, Sitatapatra, Chemchog Heruka, and Vajrakila. The third register down contains wisdom protector Deities has Chaturbhuja Mahakala, Shri Devi, Panjara Mahakala, Shri Devi Dudsolma, Vyaghra Vahana Mahakala, and Shri Devi Rangjungma. The fourth and fifth registers contains the Four Guardian Kings and below those are the ten or twelve worldly gods such as Indra, Vayu, Yama and Ishana. The registers below contain retinue deities and attendants of Bhagavan Mahakala. At the bottom right corner are two donor figures wearing monastic attire seated in front of a shrine. Immediately to the left of the shrine is the worldly protector Vaishravana Riding a Lion. [Jeff Watt, himalayanart.org]

Collection:
South AsiaChina
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