Mahakala as Panjaranatha

16th century

Catalogue Raisonné

Buddhist Arts of Asia: 33 , pg.104-105


Overall: 158.8 x 121.9 cm (62 1/2 x 48 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Distemper on cotton, mounted with silk brocade.

Not On View





Painting with decorative borders, mounted on support panel. Would have originally been in thangka format.

Standing on a prostrate corpse, Panjaranatha or Great Vajra Black One, is a special protector of the Hevajra cycle of teachings. Here, Panjaranatha is seen encircled by flames, in which appear jackals, crows, dogs, and other denizens of the cemeteries which he inhabits. The deep reds and dark blues of this painting, as well as the lack of any landscape comes out of the Beri stylistic tradition made famous in Central Tibet and known for a high degree of Nepalese influence.


1912, William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston, MA; 1912, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date, February 1,1912)

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection