Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Early Tibetan Mandala
The deity Buddhakapala, "Skullcup of the Buddha," presides over this mandala of twenty-five deities.1 The wrathful god embraces his consort Citrasena, while his four other hands hold the skullcup, chopper, ceremonial staff and hand drum. He assumes the dancer's pose (ardhaparyanka) upon a corpse which is itself supported by a lotus borne by the sun.
Attendant deities in the mandala's first circle appear on the petals of an open lotus: Sumalini (E), Kapalini (N), Bhima (W) and Durjaya (S).2 Skullcups supported by lotuses mark the four intermediate points of the compass. The second circle of deities includes: Subhamekhala (E), Rupini (N), Vijaya (W), Kamini (S), Kapalini (NE), Mahadadhi (SE), Karini (SW) and Marani (NW). The third circle includes: Tarini (E), Bhimadarsana (N), Sudarsana (W), Ajaya (S), Subha (NE), Astaraki (SE), Kalaratri (SW) and M ahayasa (NW). Sundari (E), Vajrasundari (N), Subhaga (W) and Priyadarsana (S) guard the mandala's four gates.
This mandala was once part of a set of mandalas illustrating Annuttarayoga teachings. These teachings were transmitted by an historical lineage illustrated in the painting's top and bottom registers, and including the four historical figures encircled by scrolling vines just outside the mandala circle.3 The lineage begins with the celestial Buddha Vajradhara and includes Indian masters such as Nagarjuna (act. second century A.D.) and prominent Tibetan masters of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, such as the famed translator Marpa (mar-pa, 1012-96).
Posted by Dune at 9:04 PM