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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

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2000

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cosmic [x]   cosmos [x]   mandala [x]   paubha [x]   shava [x]   thangka [x]   yoga [x]   yogini [x]  

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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.