Mahasamvara Embracing His Consort
Artist/maker unknown, Nepalese
During the Malla period, devotees began to worship new forms of both Buddhist and Hindu deities through paintings, sculptures, and devotional songs called charya gita. This vibrant painting presents Mahasamvara, a new form of the popular Buddhist deity Chakrasamvara. Mahasamvara is an istadevata (instructor deity) believed to mentor devotees like those depicted in the bottom of the painting. In the lower left a ritual practitioner and his wife perform a fire ceremony witnessed by another married couple behind them. Other white-clad monks, one of whom reads a ritual text, sit in the lower right. According to Newar Buddhist beliefs, these ritual activities call forth this particular pantheon of deities.