This dakini has a human female body and the head of a makara (half crocodile and half elephant). She is adorned with bracelets, armlets and anklets, and has a human hide over her back and shoulders. She is one of three animal-faced dakinis along with Simhamukha (lion-headed) and Sarvadulamukha (tiger-headed).
Like most dakinis, she adopts a ‘dancing pose’, one foot in the air, the other trampling on a victim, and wears a five-skull crown. The above is adorned with a Chinese-style cross belt, bracelets and anklets. The human hide is worn loosely on her back.
Along with the lion-headed Simhavaktra, whom we have discussed in a previous post, Makaravaktra is an attendant to Magzor Gyalmo/Palden Lhamo (a form of Shri Devi much worshipped in Tibet). She is in charge of leading her mule or khyang (Tibetan wild ass). As an attendant, she is smaller than the main figure she accompanies.
On this example, we can see the arms of the human hide knotted across her chest and the legs dangling against hers.
This small makara-headed deity is often confused with Makaramukha, especially because most sculptures are separated from the original set, but, given that she is in charge of leading Shri Devi’s mount, she stands on both feet. Also, she doesn’t wear a skull crown.
She usually holds her right hand above her head, and on this sculpture we can see that she wields a thunderbolt sceptre (vajra).