Four Hevajra Mandalas of the Vajravali Cycle
Four Mandalas of Hevajra from the Vajravali Cycle
Artist/maker unknown, Central Tibetan
This painting is the fifth in a set of fourteen commissioned by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, the first abbot of Ngor Monastery, to commemorate the death of his teacher. The works are schematic visualizations of the Vajravali, a collection of texts that describes different esoteric deities. Here, Hevajra, the principal deity of the Lamdre teaching, appears in four different forms within four different mandalas (circles; symbolic residences of the deity). Although ultimately protective, Hevajra appears as a terrifying being and so his four mandalas are surrounded by cremation grounds complete with corpses, vultures, jackals, and tiny skeletons. Written sources tell us that this set of paintings was created by a group of Newar (Nepalese) artists who had traveled to Tibet especially to work for the Ngor Monastery; this is confirmed by the style of the actual paintings in the set.