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Pratapaditya Pal: Roshan Sabavala’s Tryst with Himalayan Art

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Lot 82: A Trailokyavijaya Mandala
Distemper on cloth
19th Century
Height 14 ⅛ x 14 ⅛ in. (36 x 36 cm.)

The thangka depicts the mandala of Trailokyavijaya, the wrathful three-headed deity in the fiery centre of an eight-point chakra, with his principal hands crossed at the heart in the demon-quelling humkaramudra and holding the vajra and bow in his outstretched hands. Eight mahadevas are seated within the spokes of the chakra, bound by a black ring of golden vajras set in the centre of the mandala palace with deities and dakinis at the cardinal points and surrounded by rings of lotus petals and flames.

The exquisitely painted mandala would have been one in a series of thangkas used for personal meditation on the Sarvadurgati tantra. An inscription in Tibetan cursive ume script on the back of the thangka identifies the subject of the painting as Trailokyavijaya eight mahadeva mandala.