Acala with Consort Vishvavajri
Nepal, Kathmandu Valley
Distemper on cotton
Image: 34 1/8 × 25 7/8 in. (86.7 × 65.7 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2012
With its dazzling colors, dynamic figures, and imposing scale, this painting, a visualization of the Chandamaharoshana tantra—the meditational text devoted to Acala—ranks among the most powerful examples of sixteenth-century Nepalese art. Acala (literally, “immovable”) is a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom and, in Nepalese Buddhism, a manifestation of Chakrasamvara. He is popularly associated with magic, healing, and protection from disease. Crowned, jeweled, and grasping a sword, Acala cuts through the veil of ignorance. His left hand, holding a vajra-tipped noose to catch the ignorant, gestures in admonition. He is locked in sexual embrace with his consort, Vishvavajri. The pair visually expresses the bliss of enlightenment that can be achieved by the combination of right knowledge and right method.