Mahakala/Bhairava with Buddhas, Ganesha, Karttikeya, Achala, and Devotees
Hanging scroll painting (paubha)

Artist/maker unknown, Nepalese

Made in Nepal, Asia

Late 16th century

Colors on cloth

Image: 19 1/2 x 16 1/4 inches (49.5 x 41.3 cm) Frame: 27 1/8 x 23 3/4 x 2 3/16 inches (68.9 x 60.3 x 5.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

* Gallery 227, Asian Art, second floor (Wood Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1963

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Newar religious practice employs a unique mix of Buddhist and Hindu elements. The five transcendental buddhas at the top of this painting and Achala (the blue-skinned Buddhist protector at the bottom center) are joined by deities more often affiliated with Hinduism. These include the elephant-headed Ganesha and dancing Karttikeya, who flank their father, Shiva, in his form as Mahakala/Bhairava. Another important feature of Newar art and practice is the depiction and participation of both men and women devotees. In the lower two registers seventeen men (in white-and-red-striped outfits) and seven women (in Malla period red skirts with white-and-blue stripes) offer flowers. Also typical of the Malla period are the shapes of Mahakala's triangular eyebrows, his neatly trimmed moustache and beard, and his round, full eyes.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.