Himalayan Art Resources item no. 59864.
John C. Huntington and Dinah Bangdel, The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, Chicago, 2003, p. 324, cat. no 90.
The paintings are the tenth and eleventh in a series of mandala depicting deities from the Vajravali meditational system according to the Indian pandita Abhayakara Gupta: three other paintings from the series survive, see Jeff Watt, Himalayan Art Resources item no. 59875.
The second painting of the series, formerly in the Doris Wiener Collection, depicts the mandala of Hevajra; see Christie’s New York, 20 March 2012, lot 131. The twelfth painting in the series depicts the Dharmadhatuvagishvara mandala, see Detlef-Ingo Lauf, Secret Revelations of Tibetan Thangkas, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1976, pl. 26. Another mandala from the series in a private collection illustrates the cycle of Vajrayogini, Watt, op. cit.
The set is likely to have been painted around 1570, following the demise of Sengye Senge. Ngor monastery has a long history of producing sets of Vajravali mandalas, beginning shortly after its foundation in 1429 when Kunga Zangpo (1387-1456) commissioned a series in honour of his teacher Saszang Phagpa, see David Jackson, A History of Tibetan Painting, Vienna, 1996, p. 82.
For a comprehensive discourse on the symbolism of the mandala of Kalachakra, see John Huntington and Dina Bangdel, The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, Chicago, 2003, pp. 483-6, cat. no. 148.
Per Amy Heller, Tibetan Art: Tracing the Development of Spiritual Ideals and Art in Tibet 600-2000 A. D., Milan, 1999, p. 150, the upper Tibetan inscription identifies the series and can be translated as follows:
“[The] tenth of the paintings of the (Vajra)vali”
The lower Tibetan inscription identifies the patron and his guru:
Made in reverent homage by Drangti Panchen Namkai Palzang to honour the memory of Vajradhara Sangye Senge”.
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