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Mandala of Shiva and Shakti

Artist/maker unknown, Nepalese

Probably made in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Asia

Mid- to late 18th century

Colors on cloth

51 1/2 x 55 inches (130.8 x 139.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

* Gallery 48, Modern and Contemporary Art, ground floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2000

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The term mandala literally means “circle,” but here it refers to a schematic vision of the cosmos or the residence of a god. At the center of the circle, the Hindu god Shiva and his red-skinned consort Shakti are seated above a corpse in a white, temple-like palace. A square of red divine women frame the four golden gates. They are surrounded by a series of concentric rings: a yellow band populated by yogis and other deities, a fantastical jungle interspersed with ponds and ascetics’ huts, a white river replete with fish and jewels, and finally a deep blue ocean with a reflected moon at upper right.

* 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.

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