Mandala of Dorje Phurba

Mandala of Dorje Phurba
Place Made:
mid-18th century
Opaque watercolor on cotton with silk border 
image: 31 x 22-1/2 in. (78.7 x 57.2 cm); mount: 60-1/2 x 37-1/4 in. (153.7 x 94.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Not on View

A mandala is a symbolic map representing the perfected universe of a Buddhist deity. This particular mandala is dedicated to the wrathful deity Dorje Phurba, who is the personification of a phurbu or ritual dagger. A large retinue of protective and attendant deities with animal and human heads radiate around the central figure of Dorje Phurba, who appears in the innermost triangle of the painting embracing his consort. Five seated figures appear across the top of the painting, with Padmasambhava, the Indian mystic who brought Buddhism to Tibet, in the center, flanked by Indian and Tibetan monks. At the bottom of the painting is an offering table with three blood-filled skull cups and gems. Two additional wrathful deities appear in the two lower corners, Vajrapani on the left and Vajraheruka on the right.

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