Description The Buddhist deity Kshetrapala, whose name means "protector ('pala') of the field ('kshetra')," wards off dangerous and evil forces. His mouth releases a great howl, its volume amplified by the roar of the bear he rides. As he lifts his index finger in a threatening gesture, he holds the handle of a flaying knife (the curved blade of which is now missing) and a skull bowl filled with the blood and flesh of his enemies. In Tibetan Buddhist traditions, he presides over Shitavana ("cool grove"), a charnel ground near the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment, Bodhgaya. An important member of the retinue of six-armed Mahakala (a prominent protector of Buddhist teachings), Kshetrapala usually appears within an assemblage of wrathful protectors. In rituals performed to keep enemies at bay, however, he occasionally serves as the focus of worship.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
- Ferocious Beauty: Wrathful Deities from Tibet and Nepal. 2016-2017.
Provenance Nahar Gallery, Calcutta, India; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, August 1984; given to Walters Art Museum, 2013.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2013
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