Apr 3, 2014

Mandala of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi

Mandala of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi

late 1400s

Gum tempera on cloth

Overall: 40.6 x 35.6 cm (16 x 14 in.)

James Parmelee Fund 1960.211


Did you know?

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 palace-like structure, viewed from above. This mandala depicts the abode of a 4-headed, 12-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, 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.

See also
Nepalese Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
James Parmelee Fund

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.