Skip to main content

Main Building

Mahakala/Bhairava with Buddhas, Ganesha, Karttikeya, Achala, and Devotees

Late 16th century
Artist/maker unknown, Nepalese
Newar religious practice employs a unique mix of Buddhist and Hindu elements. The five transcendental buddhas at the top of this painting and Achala (the blue-skinned Buddhist protector at the bottom center) are joined by deities more often affiliated with Hinduism. These include the elephant-headed Ganesha and dancing Karttikeya, who flank their father, Shiva, in his form as Mahakala/Bhairava. Another important feature of Newar art and practice is the depiction and participation of both men and women devotees. In the lower two registers seventeen men (in white-and-red-striped outfits) and seven women (in Malla period red skirts with white-and-blue stripes) offer flowers. Also typical of the Malla period are the shapes of Mahakala's triangular eyebrows, his neatly trimmed moustache and beard, and his round, full eyes.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.

Main Building