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Mandala of Jnanadakini

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The central six-armed goddess (devi), Jnanadakini, is surrounded by eight emanations\u2014representations of the devi that correspond to the colors of the mandala's four directional quadrants. Four additional protective goddesses sit within the gateways. Bracketing the gateways and taking the form of vajras are foliate arches that emerge from the mouths of sea monsters (makaras).This mandalic structure is surrounded by concentric circles that respectively contain lotus petals, vajras, flames, and the eight great burial grounds. Additional dakinis and lamas occupy roundels in the four corners. The upper register depicts a row of lamas and mahasiddhas (mythic Indian tantric masters credited with Vajrayana Buddhist teachings), who document and trace the Sakya school's spiritual lineage. The lower register depicts protective deities as well as a monk-donor (at left), who performs a consecration ritual. The refinement of detail throughout this work suggests that it was painted by a Newari artist from the Kathmandu valley. This tangka originally may have been part of a set of forty-two mandalas relating to ritual texts collectively known as the Vajravali or Vajramala (Garland of Vajras).

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