Black-ground Thanka of Mahakala, TIbet, 17th/18th Century
Lot 1107
A Black-ground thangka of Vajrabhairava Tibet, 17th/18th century
Sold for US$ 11,875 inc. premium
Auction Details
A Black-ground thangka of Vajrabhairava  Tibet, 17th/18th century
Lot Details
Property from another collection
A Black-ground thangka of Vajrabhairava
Tibet, 17th/18th century
Distemper and gold on cloth; with nine faces, thirty-four hands and sixteen legs. The main face is that of a buffalo, with a red face above and the slightly fierce face of Manjushri placed on top; flames swirl about the tips of the two horns. The three faces to the right and three faces to the left are stacked one above the other along each side. Each face has three large glaring eyes, bared fangs and a wrathful expression. The yellow hair curls upward like billowing clouds. The radiating hands hold a variety of objects with the last pair located towards the upper back holding the fresh outstretched hide of an elephant. The primary pair of hands hold a curved knife and skullcup held to the heart and embrace the consort Vajravetali. She is adorned with a variety of ornaments and a necklace of fifty heads, and their right legs are bent pressing down on a man, animals and various gods. The left legs are extended straight and press upon various birds and gods; standing above a sun disc and multicolored lotus completely surrounded by the orange flames of pristine awareness.

At the top center is Tsong Khapa with a sword of wisdom and a book upon a lotus blossom at each shoulder. Surrounding the primary figure are twelve smaller representations of a ten-armed Mahakala with consort set within billowing clouds of smoke.
25 x 19 in. (63.5 x 48.2 cm.)


  • Compare with a another black-ground thangka in the Rubin Museum of Art, see Linrothe and Watt, Demonic Devine, 2004, no. 1, p. 102. Also see Sotheby's, New York, March 26, 2006, lot 96 for a thangka of Vajrapani with palette that is also limited to gold and red.
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