Chen Chog Heruka and Spirits of the Bardo
Artist/maker unknown, Mongolian or Tibetan
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Unique to Tibetan Buddhism is the Bardo, the space where a deceased person's spirit experiences the stages of death and rebirth during a forty-nine-day period. Seen here are wrathful deities who emanate from the deceased's brain on the eighth through fourteenth days. (Peaceful deities radiate from the heart and throat during the first seven days.) This painting is intended to prepare devotees to brave these frights in the Bardo. The geometric organization of the figures indicates the sequential introduction of the deities by time (which day), space (the direction they come from, i.e., east, south, west, or north), and rank.