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The Buddhist deity Vajrabhairava
Place of Origin: Tibet, Ngor Monastery
Date: 1700-1800
Object Name: Thangka
Materials: Colors on cotton
Dimensions: H. 33 3/8 in x W. 21 3/4 in, H. 84.8 cm x W. 55.2 cm (image); H. 58 1/4 in x W. 33 1/4 in, H. 14.8 cm x W. 84.5 cm (overall)
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Himalayan Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B63D3
On Display: No

Description

Label: In Tibet, paintings of wrathful protective deities on a black background were stored in monasteries in special rooms only the initiated could enter. Such paintings, including the one shown here, contain powerful symbols that can be correctly understood only by those with extensive training.

The wrathful deity in the center, standing on animals with his numerous right feet and on birds with his left, can be identified as Vajrabhairava. The ferocious form of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, Vajrabhairava is seen here as the conqueror of death. Bodhisattvas, compassionate followers of Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha), postponed their own enlightenment to spread his teachings and aid the faithful in reaching enlightenment. An image of Manjushri's head surmounts Vajrabhairava's crown.
Label: In Tibet, paintings of wrathful protective deities on a black background were stored in monasteries in special rooms only the initiated could enter. Such paintings, including the one shown here, contain powerful symbols that can be correctly understood only by those with extensive training.

The wrathful deity in the center, standing on animals with his numerous right feet and on birds with his left, can be identified as Vajrabhairava. The ferocious form of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, Vajrabhairava is seen here as the conqueror of death. Bodhisattvas, compassionate followers of Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha), postponed their own enlightenment to spread his teachings and aid the faithful in reaching enlightenment. An image of Manjushri's head surmounts Vajrabhairava's crown.