Tibet, Mahakala – Panjarnata

This form of Mahakala has one face with three eyes and bared fangs, 2 hands holding a skull cup and flaying knife against his heart (and usually a flat stick resting across his arms but not always) and two legs in a squatting position, often standing on a corpse. He wears a skull crown, a garland of severed heads, snakes as jewellery, a tiger skin loin cloth, and has flaming hair and staring eyes. Panjarnata Mahakala  (Lord of the Pavilion) is particular popular in Mongolia where he is regarded as a protector of the tent.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Mahakala Panjarnata, gilt copper alloy, private collection.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Mahakala Panjarnata, gilt copper alloy with pigment, private collection.

The beaded belt and the elegant loops of the flowing scarf on this sculpture show the influence of Chinese artists,  the style of the lotus base and the facial features are Tibetan.

18th century

18th century, Tibet, copper alloy and pigment, private collection.

Despite the absence of gilding and the archaic treatment of the faces, there are some features such as the scallop-shape flaming hair, the style of the skull crown, the garland of heads and the lotus base that correspond to a more recent period of Tibetan sculpture, i.e.17th-18th century.

 

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