On View In:
Gallery 212
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Thanka of Vajrakila  
Date:   late 17th century  
Medium:   Ink colors and gold on sized cotton  
Dimensions:   33 3/8 x 20 7/16 in. (84.77 x 51.91 cm) (image)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton  
Location:   Gallery 212  

The central figure of this colorful thanka is Vajrakila (Do-rje-phur-pa), a wrathful winged deity with six arms and three heads whose ritual attribute, the triangular shaped Kila (phur-pa) comprises the pedestal on which he and his consort trample evil demons (Rudra-Mara).
The kila or phur-pa is a hand held ritual weapon with a triangular blade whose protective power is used for piercing and subduing demons and spirits by pinning them to the ground. The central image is surrounded by ten smaller nearly identical Vajrakila images in which the upper torso is that of a wrathful, protective deity while the lower half of the body preserves the shape of the triangular phur-pa blade. All these images are shown in their destructive mode pinning evil spirits to the ground and wearing the tiger skins, crowns of skulls, and garlands of severed heads of their conquered adversaries. Across the bottom of the thanka are four guardian deities and, at the top, are two groups of three monks flanking a central image of Padmasambava.

Object Description  
Inscriptions:   Inscription 2 lines of untranslated text, in black, on back  
Classification:   Paintings  
Physical Description:   blue figure with 3 heads (one white, one blue and one red), 6 arms, 4 legs and wings embracing a green figure with long red hair; flaming mandala behind figures; small thrones below, above and at R and L with various demons, humans and part animal/part human figures; multicolored pigments  
Accession #:   2000.150.3  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts