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Crowns of the Vajra Masters: Ritual Art of Nepal

Acala with Consort Vishvavajri
Nepal (Kathmandu Valley), Malla period, 1525–50
Distemper and on cloth
Image: 34 1/8 × 25 7/8 in. (86.7 × 65.7 cm)

Zimmerman Family Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2012
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012.456

With its dazzling colors, dynamic figures, and imposing scale, this visualization of the Chandamaharoshana Tantra—the meditational text devoted to Acala—ranks among the most powerful examples of sixteenth-century Nepalese art. Acala (meaning "immovable") is a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom and, in Nepalese Buddhism, a manifestation of Chakrasamvara. He is popularly associated with magic, healing, and protection from disease. Crowned, jeweled, and grasping a sword, Acala cuts through the veil of ignorance. His left hand, holding a vajra-tipped noose to catch the ignorant, gestures in admonition. He is locked in sexual embrace with his consort, Vishvavajri. The pair visually expresses the bliss of enlightenment resulting from the union of wisdom and compassion.

Exhibition History
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Tibetan and Nepalese Art: Recent Acquisitions," September 17, 2013–February 2, 2014.

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