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Mahakala with Retinue and Lamas

Mahakala with Retinue and Lamas, c. 1470

Nepal: Dolpo, 1445-1495
Opaque watercolor on cotton
18 x 14-1/4 in. (45.7 x 36.2 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on View

Mahakala’s top two hands militantly grasp a sword and trident, while his lower hands hold a lemon and skull cup and encircle his consort. Her form is difficult to distinguish: she wears a tiger skin wrapped around her waist and holds a skull cup up to the side of Mahakala’s face. The couple is seated on a corpse and surrounded by various lamas, divinities and mortal figures. This painting was created for the Lang monastery in Dolpo, in northwestern Nepal. Dolpo is located in an isolated valley high in the Himalayan mountains, where Tibetan culture has been preserved.

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