NAUGURAL EXHIBITION: Hong Kong, 23 - 28 May 2007
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Buddhist Works of Art


Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period (1736-1795)

Height: 11.5cm

The four-armed and four-headed form of Mahakala stands in an archer pose (pratyalidhasana) with his left leg extended and right leg bent trampling two figures on a sealed lotus base. The figure holds a vajra-handled chopper (kartrika) and skull cap (kapala) in his frontal arms and holds a vajra-handled sword on his rear right hand his hind left hand missing a trident. The deity wears a tiger skin dhoti, an elephant-skin cape, a free-flowing sash, a skull tiara atop each of his four heads and a skull necklace that falls below his protruding belly. Traces of pigment remain on the hair, eyes and skull cap.

As a manifestation of Heruka Chakrasamvara, Caturmukha Mahakala is one of the principle Dharmapalas, the protector deities who guard the sacred texts and its practitioners in Vajrayana Buddhism.

Similar Examples
A similar example in hammered copper can be found in Buddhist Statues in Yonghegong, Beijing: 2001, p. 114