| exhibitions

Previous Image | London: the fall season | Next Image

Rossi & Rossi
91c Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JB
Tel: 020 7321 0208
Fax: 020 7321 0546
Email: [email protected]


18th c.
distemper on cloth
48 x 34.5 cm

Dakini, "Sky Walker," or ''Sky Dancer," is a term used to identify a woman who is accomplished in Tantric Buddhist practices, as well as a whole range of Tantric goddesses, including the remarkable woman who appears at the centre of this painting. Her unusual iconography captures something of the significance of the term, which is meant to convey "the flights of spiritual insight, ecstasy, and freedom" experienced by one who has realised the Buddhist state shunyata, emptiness. The iconography features a naked, dancing dakini engulfed by flames, whose outstretched hands hold the sun (in her proper left) and moon (in her proper right). She straddles a sea of blood fed from distant mountain streams and into which flows her own menses. The sea of blood is agitated, carrying corpses and a skeleton, and is about to inundate even the mountain tops. Carried by golden rays emerging from her vulva are spiders, scorpions, other insects and birds, as if to suggest that she is the source of all of creation. An inscription in the halo of the figure near the top of the painting identifies the painting's iconography as that of Vajradakini, and includes an aspirational prayer and the name of the commissioner, although the latter is partly illegible.

Provenance: English private collection

all images © Rossi & Rossi

Previous Image | London: the fall season | Next Image | exhibitions