Tibet, Mahakala Chaturbhuja (1)

12th century, Tibet, Mahakala Chaturbhuja, at the Tibet Museum in Lhassa, photo Bowers Museum exhibition.

12th century, Tibet, Mahakala Chaturbhuja, copper alloy and pigment, at the Tibet Museum in Lhassa, photo Bowers Museum exhibition.

In his Chaturbhuja (4 hands) form, Mahakala is usually depicted sitting over a corpse, holding various attributes such as a sword and a staff (often missing) in his stretched outer hands, a lotus bud and a skull cup or a coconut in his other hands. His single face has three eyes, a moustache, beard and upward flaming hair (painted orange here). He is adorned with the standard wrathful ornaments (snake jewellery, a long snake as a sacred cord, a skull crown, a garland of freshly severed heads).

15th century, Tibet,

15th century, Tibet, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

15th century, Tibet,

15th century, Central Tibet, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

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