The four-handed Mahākāla as the protector of knowledge. Distemper painting.
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The four-handed Mahākāla wears the Dharmapāla (Defender of the Doctrine) ornaments: a skull crown on his head and a garland of skulls and a garland of snakes hanging from his waist. He is surrounded by a golden body-nimbus and an aureole of flames. In his upper right hand he is brandishing a sword, in his upper left hand he holds a khaṭvāṅga (ritual wand), in his original right hand he holds a karttṛkā (chopper) and in his left a skull bowl. The chopper and the skull bowl are attributes of Mahākāla. He is standing in the pratyalīḍhāsana (stepping to the right-position) on a lotus throne. Under the lotus are three tormas (gtor ma), or "offering cakes", from which issue two bulging eyes
1 painting : distemper on cotton ; distemper 24 x 20 cm
Marianne Winder, Catalogue of Tibetan manuscripts and xylographs, and catalogue of thankas, banners and other paintings and drawings in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London 1989, p. 79, thankas banners and paintings no. 11
Wellcome Library no. 47103i