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Paintings > Thangka > The Sky Clad Night
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The Sky Clad Night

The Sky Clad Night

The Sky Clad Night

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Tibetan Thangka Painting

14.0" x 19.5"
Item Code:
TI10
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Viewed 7521 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
According to the popular version of the mythological origins of Yama (the god of death), a holy man was once told that if he spent fifty years living in deep meditation in a cave, he would reach enlightenment. On the night of the twenty-ninth day of the eleventh month of the forty-ninth year, two robbers entered his cave with a stolen bull whose head they proceeded to cut off. When they realized that the hermit had witnessed their act, they decided to kill him. He begged them to spare his life, explaining that in a few minutes he would reach enlightenment and that all his efforts would be lost if they killed him before the expiration of the fifty years. The thieves ignored his request and cut off his head. Immediately, he assumed the ferocious form of Yama and put the bull's head on his own headless body. He then killed the two robbers and drank their blood from cups made from their skulls. In his fury, he threatened to destroy the entire population of Tibet. The Tibetan people appealed to the deity Manjushri (the Bodhisattva of wisdom), to protect them from Yama. Manjushri then assumed the form of Yamantaka , defeated Yama, and turned him into a protector of Buddhism, in order to save the people.

With a dark body lunging wildly across the back of his bull mount, Yama here waves a skull-headed club and lasso. He glares with puffed-up snouts straight at the viewer. His consort is the blond haired Chamundi, who too is dark as the night, and who straddles the haunches of the bull and Yama's left leg. She holds a trident and offers Yama a skull-cup full of blood. Both have three eyes and five-skull crowns; his is topped by a vajra entwined with a serpent. He wears a large necklace of severed human heads. Both are sky-clad, except for the sparkling white bone ornaments adorning their bodies and the spotted antelope skin covering her back. The ferocious bull in his turn rides the stricken body of ignorant life beneath his bellowing form.

A twisting and blazing fiery aureole surrounds the duo. This known as kalagni, meaning the 'fire (agni) of time (kala)'. Literally it is the 'fire at the end of time', which according to Buddhist ideals, is the ultimate conflagration of the universe at the end of this aeon.

The aureole coils are tipped with golden flames, drawn with much grace and expression of movement. The flames curl to one side and leap out at the other. This transverse motion enhances the dynamic body posture of the couple, lending to it vitality and vigor.

Click Here to View the Thangka Painting along with its Brocade


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