Mahakala in the Form of a Brahman

17th century

Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art
New York, United States

The dark-brown central figure of Mahakala in the form of a Brahman ascetic (Brahmanarupa) blowing a horn is surrounded by four furies of different colors that appear to be dancing in the sky. This group of five is repeated four times around the central cave in a much smaller format, each in a charnel ground setting marked by a partially hidden stupa. At the top of the painting the orange deity Guhyasamaja Manjuvajra is flanked by the arhat Angaja surrounded by disciples (left) and Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara accompanied by the seated goddesses White and Green Tara in front of a very distinctive Tibetan monastery (right).


  • Title: Mahakala in the Form of a Brahman
  • Date Created: 17th century
  • Physical Dimensions: 24 x 17 in.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, F1997.25.2
  • Medium: Pigments on cloth
  • Place of Creation: Tibet
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (01/25/12 - 01/14/13)

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