Mahasamvara Embracing His Consort

Artist/maker unknown, Nepalese

Made in Nepal, Asia

Malla Dynasty (1200-1769)


Colors on cloth

Image: 42 x 28 inches (106.7 x 71.1 cm) Mount: 44 5/8 x 29 inches (113.3 x 73.7 cm) Frame: 47 1/2 × 32 × 2 1/2 inches (120.7 × 81.3 × 6.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

* Gallery 48, Modern and Contemporary Art, ground floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Stella Kramrisch Collection, 1994

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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.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.