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Crowns of the Vajra Masters: Ritual Art of Nepal

Acala, The Buddhist Protector
Nepal (Kathmandu Valley), early Malla period, 15th century
Distemper and gold on cloth
Overall: 32 x 26 1/2 in. (81.3 x 67.3 cm)

Gift of Perry J. Lewis, 1994
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994.452

Acala (meaning "immovable") is a wrathful manifestation of the wisdom bodhisattva Manjushri. He wields a sword to dispatch ignorance and a noose to ensnare disbelievers. His enflamed wide eyes and grimace exposing his teeth express his fearsome aspect as he kneels with one knee on the ground, which evokes his role as a protector of the earth. He is set in a flaming aureole, his knowledge field, and is honored with an elaborate archway topped by the mythical eagle Garuda quelling two snakes (nagas). Numerous protective emanations surround him in a series of registers; in the lower register, a Vajracharya priest performs rituals for the benefit of the donor family seated opposite.

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