Hevajra Mandala
14th century
Distemper on cloth
69 x 56 cm

In the centre of the mandala Hevajra is depicted in his form as Shastradhara (“he who wields weapons”) with eight faces, sixteen arms holding skullcups and four legs, one pair assumes a powerful stance (alidhasana) while the other pair assumes a dancer’s pose (ardhaparyarika). He embraces Nairatma, his consort, depicted with one face and two arms holding a curved knife and skullcup. Crushed underneath are the four Maras, obstacles to enlightenment: yellow Brahma, white Indra, blue Shiva and black Vishnu. A circle of eight directional goddesses set within lotus petals surrounds the pair. 

The lotus that contains these figures composes the centre of the celestial palace that is divided into four colours (red, blue white and yellow) with a continuous floral design. Each of the four doorways is decorated with an elaborate lintel, framed by arches and centred by the Dharma wheel flanked by reclining deer. Beyond the celestial palace walls is a circle of multicoloured lotu petals representing the enormous lotus upon which the entire palace structure rests. This is ringed by a circle divided into eight sections representing the eight great cemeteries separated from one another by waters, placed within the multi-coloured fires of pristine awareness. Additional deities are depicted in the corners, as well as in the top and lower registers of the painting. In the lower left corner a monk sits in front of ritual implements.