Exhibitions/ Art Object

Mandala of the Sun God Surya

early Malla period
dated 1379 (?)
Nepal, Kathmandu Valley
Distemper on cotton
Image: 32 5/8 × 21 1/2 in. (82.9 × 54.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Zimmerman Family Collection, Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation and Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2012
Accession Number:
Not on view
This mandala is devoted to the solar deity Surya and bears a partially legible date, making it one of only two confirmed Nepalese paintings of the fourteenth century. The inscription names the donor and the artist—the latter an extremely rare occurrence in Nepalese art—and declares that it was painted when the donor, named as Bhisnudevesvara, performed a ceremony so that he might be forgiven for negative karma. This ritual is depicted in the lower register, with a Vajracharya priest performing a fire sacrifice, and with the donor at center. His family is also present, at right. The eight planetary deities ring the mandala.
Inscription: Inscribed in Newari: “In the year . . . [likely 1379] painted by Kitaharasa”
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Tibetan and Nepalese Art: Recent Acquisitions," September 17, 2013–February 2, 2014.

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