Satchakravarti Samvara Mandala
Artist/maker unknown, Tibetan
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In Tibetan Buddhism the term “mandala” usually refers to a purified and sacred cosmos that is visualized by practitioners in the form of the celestial mansion of a tantric buddha. Thus this painting is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional residence. The mansion contains four elaborate gateways and is surrounded by a ring of lotuses and a wall of fire. Inside, the central deity of the mandala, Jnanadaka, shown in sexual union with his consort, sits within his own smaller mandala. This in turn is surrounded by five other small mandalas, each housing another buddha. Depicted in the upper and lower registers and in the four corners are deities associated with the Chakrasamvara (Circle of Bliss) teachings, to which this mandala belongs.