As in this piece, he is depicted with a wrathful and fierce expression that signals his might and power to overcome negativity along the path of enlightenment. His skin is blue that represents the eternal Dharmakaya. He sports an aflame beard and eyebrows to signal his transformative power to turn the five negativities into five wisdoms. These negative afflictions are represented by the five skulls on his crown (attachment, aversion, ignorance, pride, and jealousy). Mahakala wears a necklace adorned with human heads. His three eyes represent the power to see in the past, present, and future and it can also stand for the three bodies of the Buddha. In his left hand is a skull cup representing the power to crush worldly attachment while the other hand is a blade with a Vajra handle which he could cut off ignorance. He stands on a lotus throne (on a corpse) with a sun disk (signify his illumination and enlightenment). On his waist is a tiger skin that represents purification while the snakeskin is his sign of purification from hate. He can also be seen trampling a being, not because of terrorizing them but as a sign of that his power could go at lengths that can subdue the world if it means destroying obstacles to enlightenment. At the bottom are a black figure and a set of offerings to symbolize patrons of the deity.
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