Old Tibetal Mahakala Mask / Temple Mask
Dimensions: 49cm x 28cm
Mahakala is a Dharmapala (protector of dharma) in Vajrayana Buddhism and belongs to the 4th hierarchy of deities. Mahakala (Lord of the Tent) is one of the most revered Tibetan protector deities and is worshipped as a protector of the entire realm, as well as a personal tutelary deity. Revered in all orders of Tantric Tibetan Buddhism, Mahakala is especially popular with the Sakya order. In his most common form he is believed to be the fierce manifestation of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara who plays a prominent role in Tibetan Buddhism and was the tutelary deity of the Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan. A protector of religious law, Mahakala is always depicted as a fierce and terrifying deity who’s purpose is to help overcome negative obstacles on the path to enlightenment. However, though appearing demonic and evil, he is more like a guard dog or guardian angel. He can be depicted in a variety of different ways, sometimes with 6, 4 or 2 arms. He is often brown skinned and associated in tankas with Palden Lhamo. Mahakala’s role as “Lord of the Tent” explains his popularity in Tibetan religion. Tibetans are historically a nomadic people so tents have always been an important form of protection and shelter, hence Mahakala, the “Lord of the Tent” is one of the most important protector deities.