Machig Labdron and Four Directional Dakini
MediumPigments, gilding on sized cloth
DimensionsWork : 3 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 5/8 in. (9.53 x 8.25 x 1.59 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
The white figure in the center of this painting is the Tibetan spiritual teacher and dakini Machig Labdron (1055-1153). She is surrounded by four additional dakini, each of whom is a different color and represents a different cardinal direction: Padmadakini (red, west), Karmadakini (green, north), Vajradakini (blue, east), and Ratnadakini (yellow, south). All of the figures are portrayed in dancing poses, wearing crowns, jewelry, and sumptuous clothing. They also hold skull-form hand drums, bronze bells, and tantric ritual staffs. In Mongolia, this group of five dakini was traditionally invoked in rituals on the first day of the Lunar New Year to bring good luck for the coming year. The painting is inscribed on the reverse side with a five-syllable consecration mantra.