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Kalachakra and Vishvamata
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Kalachakra and Vishvamata

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Locked in a passionate embrace, the male Buddha Kalachakra and his female partner, Vishvamata, manifest the ideal of complete enlightenment, the supreme knowledge that leads to spiritual liberation. In Buddhist thought, male deities are identified with compassionate action and intention, while female deities embody wisdom. Since the union of these qualities is essential to the enlightened state of a Buddha, the sexual union of such deities forms a powerful visual metaphor for Buddhahood. Kalachakra wears an elephant-skin cape, symbolizing the destruction of ignorance, and a tiger-skin loincloth, symbolizing the destruction of hatred. Together, the deities trample personifications of anger (holding a trident and drum) and desire (holding a bow and arrow). With arms radiating outward and faces looking in all directions, they are all-powerful and all-knowing.
Date Description Narrative
10/28/2016Examinationexamined for acquisition; examined for condition
  • 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 Sonam Tashi, Kathmandu, Nepal; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, July 1984; given to Walters Art Museum, 2016.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2016

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ca. 1500
gilded copper alloy with traces of paint
Accession Number
H: 16 × W: 11 1/2 × D: 8 in. (40.6 × 29.2 × 20.3 cm)
  • China (Place of Origin)
  • Tibet (Place of Origin)


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