Indian and Himalayan Art
Mandala of Shiva and ShaktiProbably made in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Asia
Shah Dynasty (1769-present), Mid- to late 18th century
Artist/maker unknown, Nepalese
Colors on cloth
Currently not on view
2000-7-2Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2000
LabelThe 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.