Pala India, Mahakala steles

9th century circa, India, Bihar, Mahakala, stone, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

9th century circa, India, Bihar, Mahakala, stone, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

This stele depicts Mahakala in his four-hand form, holding a sword, a staff topped with a trident, a skull cup and a flower, a flaying knife. He stands on a double-lotus flanked by a kneeling monk and a lotus bud, surrounded with flames, his hair fastened with a snake and forming a mitre-like shape, adorned with a low tiara, large earrings, a necklace, a snake as a sacred cord, a garland of severed heads, bracelets, wearing a long striped dhoti held in place with a festooned belt. He has three bulging eyes, a thin moustache and a beard, a big belly and short legs.

11th-12th century, India, Bihar, Mahakala, black stone, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

11th-12th century, India, Bihar, Mahakala, black stone, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Such images normally show him seated. The above has a leg pendant, his foot resting on a lotus attached to the base, holding a sword, a trident, a skull cup, and probably a flaying knife in the missing hand.

 

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