Color on cloth
Overall: 40.6 x 35.6 cm (16 x 14 in.)
James Parmelee Fund 1960.211
In the corners are four auspicious symbols (clockwise from top left): umbrella (an emblem of royalty), pot (referencing abundance), pair of fish (symbol of productivity), and conch shell (indicating the eradication of obstacles).
A mandala is a two-dimensional diagram of a palatial structure, viewed from above. This mandala depicts the abode of a four-headed, twelve-armed figure who personifies a major tantric Buddhist text, the Chakrasamvara-tantra. He dances in the bliss of sexual union with his consort, the red Vajravarahi, in the central circle, which is equivalent to the penthouse of their palace. Through guided meditation Buddhist practitioners can visualize entering through each of the four gates to experience the beauty of the enlightened realm. The outermost ring of cremation grounds indicates that one must overcome fear of death before reaching the realm of enlightenment.
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