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Crowns of the Vajra Masters: Ritual Art of Nepal

Mandala of Chandra, God of the Moon
Nepal (Kathmandu Valley), early Malla period, late 14th-early 15th century
Distemper on cloth
Overall: 16 x 14 1/4 in. (40.6 x 36.2 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Uzi Zucker, 1981
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981.465

Chandra, the personification of the moon, along with Surya, the solar deity, is shared across all religions of early India. The planetary deities appear early in Indian cosmologies, and here, Chandra is surrounded by the eight other planets, constituting the full ensemble of the nine planetary deities, the navagrahas. Surya is seated on his chariot, accompanied by his charioteer and seven sacred geese (hamsa), and holds a white lotus stem in each hand. He is flanked by two female archers, whose arrows dispel the light of the sun; the framing aureole is a radiant white, as is Chandra's body. Across the lower register are two consecration scenes: a Vajracharya priest officiating (at left) and the donor, together with seven members of his family, offering a lamp (at right).

Exhibition History
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Crowns of the Vajra Masters: Ritual Art of Nepal," December 16, 2017-December 16, 2018.