On paintings, Achala may have white, blue or black skin. White Achala is described as having one head with three eyes, orange flaming hair, two hands and two legs. Blue Achala usually has blue hair and he may have 2 or 4 heads and 2 or 4 hands.
In sculpture, it is not always possible to distinguish between the 2-head and 2-hand form of Achala and the white form, although generally speaking the former is depicted with his mouth closed, the upper fangs biting the lower lip.
Undated, Tibet, Blue Achala, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.
They both brandish a flaming sword with the right hand and a have noose or lasso wound around the forefinger of the left hand.
Same as before, copper alloy, same as before.and both forms may be standing on Ganapati, or half kneeling on the lotus base, but only Blue Achala may have a human form as on the two items above. This Pala revival work depicts him with a knee-length lower garment held in place with a belt. The previous ones wears the usual tiger skin dhoti.
14th century, Tibet, Achala, copper alloy with stone and silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.
This is a rare example of Blue Achala with one head and four arms, standing on Ganapati (who holds a pot), an effigy of Akshobhya in front of his flaming hair bunch, adorned with snakes, holding what looks like an arrow in his lower right hand. His eyes and urna are inlaid with silver, his crown and earrings with gemstones (most of them missing).
Circa 15th century, Tibet, Achala, private collection, photo by Arts of Asia.
The gaping mouth and orange flaming hair correspond to the white form of this meditational deity.
Circa 14th century, Tibet, Black Achala, bronze, cold gold and pigment, private collection, photo by Christie’s.
This is Black Achala, with three heads, four legs, six hands..
… in which he holds a sword and a lotus (upper hands), a vajra sceptre and a wheel of dharma, a skull cup and a flaying knife (main hands).
He wears the usual tiger skin dhoti and is adorned with snakes and a garland of fifty severed heads.